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Rev. a. F. DICKSON, 





Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1856, by 

James Dunlap, Treas., 
in the office of the Clerk of the District Court for the Eastern 

District of Pennsylvania. 




)v/;?/^^ CONTENTS. 


The Hard Way, 13 


None Righteous, .27 


The Faithful Saying, 41 


Who is Jesus ? 56 


A Risen Saviour, " . .67 


Believe and be Saved, . . . ' . . , 78 


Being Born Again, 89 

'^ (iii) 



The New Creature, 101 


Joining the Churcla, . • « , . • .114 


Gospel Conduct, 126 


The Lord our Shepherd, ....... 138 


The Lord our Shepherd, (continued,) .... 149 


The Gospel Feast, . . . , . . . . IGO 



A VERY solemn responsibility rests upon Chris- 
tians residing in the Southern and South-western 
States of the Union, in relation to the large num- 
ber of coloured persons, mostly slaves, who are 
amongst us, as a portion of our population and yet 
forming a distinct class of our society. Their con- 
dition is such, that if they shall receive instruction 
in the truths of the gospel, and have access to its 
privileges, it must be through our agency. Failing 
to carry the gospel to them is, in effect, to exclude 
them from it. 

It is a matter of thankfulness, and a ground of 
encouragement, that Christians, in this extensive 
region of country, are not unmindful of their pecu- 
liar obligations. Efforts have been made, and, year 
by year, they are prosecuted with increasing vigour, 
to place the ordinances of religion within the reach 
of the bond as well as the free ; and we have the 
most gratifying testimony that such exertions enjoy 

1* V 


tlie favour of Him who wills that all classes of men 
should be brought to the knowledge of the truth. 
Still, it is not to be denied, that too many Chris- 
tians seem to suppose that they have fulfilled their 
duties, with respect to the spiritual welfare of the 
slave in their charge, when they impose upon him 
no needless or improper restrictions in the enjoy- 
ment of his religious privileges, and especially, if 
they have afforded him reasonable opportunities for 
attending the preaching of the word. Without any 
wish to disparage the value to our servants of the 
liberty accorded to them throughout our country, to 
unite with the whites in the services of the sanc- 
tuary, and without overlooking the trouble and ex- 
pense to which many masters have subjected them- 
selves, in making special provision for supplying 
their servants with preaching and other means of 
grace, we would still ask. Is there nothing more to be 
done for them? The parentis not legai-ded as dis- 
charging his duty to his children, when he has 
secured seats for them in the house of God, nor even 
although he advise, urge, and command them to 
embrace the privilege thus secured. The enlight- 
ened consciences and the general practice of pious 
parents concur with the Scriptures, in recognizing 
the necessity of additional and more direct ap- 
pliances, such as personal instruction, reading the 
word, exhortation and prayer, considered as a part 
of the domestic training. Attention to these duties 
is felt to be indispensable, if our children are to 


derive the full benefits of the public and more formal 
privileges of the sanctuary. If indispensable to our 
children, are they not so to our servants who, for 
the most part, are but " children in understanding ? " 
We should remember that the position which our 
slaves occupy, debars them, in a great measure, 
from the means and incentives to mental improve- 
ment which are open to other classes of society. 
As the natural consequence, their minds are slow in 
comprehending the truth on all subjects requiring 
investigation and thought. Frequent repetitions of 
the lesson to be inculcated are necessary, in order 
that any salutary and permanent impressions may 
be made upon minds thus vacant and inert. Hence, 
the importance of securing in the work of their reli- 
gious tuition, the agency of those who have daily 
acces" to them, that is, of the members of the fami- 
lies with which they are connected. When once the 
attention has been gained, and an interest awakened 
in the soul respecting its condition and prospects, 
we know that without a constant recourse to the 
appliances which are within the reach of the family 
alone, there is always great danger lest the seed 
that has been sown be "caught away" before it 
can take root in a soil at once so sterile and so 
hard. Here, it seems to us, the inquiry and the 
injunction of olden time apply in all their force: 
" Whom shall he teach knowledge ? and whom shall 
he make to understand doctrine? Them that are 
weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breast 


For precept must be upon precept, precept upon 
precept ; line upon line, line upon line ; here a lit- 
tle, and there a little." Isa. xxviii. 9,10. 

Nor have we surmounted all the special obstacles 
lo the spiritual welfare of our servants, when we have 
secured their attention and interest on behalf of 
their souls. The ardour and impetuosity of their 
emotions, and their great love of excitement, are 
matters of common observation. These, united with 
their scanty knowledge, and their slight powers 
of self-control, expose them, in a peculiar degree, 
to the excesses of superstition and fanaticism — 
excesses, which are too often encouraged rather 
than checked by the numbers in which they some- 
times throng the places of public worship, by the 
character and style of the preaching they there 
listen to, and by the manner in which other exer- 
cises are conducted, whether it be under the leader- 
ship of one of their own class, or that of a white 
man, as it often happens, scarcely better instructed 
or less fanatically inclined than themselves. This 
is an evil, a great and prevalent evil, to be cor- 
rected ; and by what means shall it be done ? We 
are persuaded there is no remedy so easy of appli- 
cation, and so effective, as faithful, painstaking 
instruction as a family duty, and that constant 
watchfulness over the tendencies of awakened reli- 
gious emotions among them, which the members of 
the family alone, have no opportunity to exercise. 
Let them be provided with the privileges of the 


sanctuary, for wliich there is no substitute; let the 
pastor or the missionary catechize them as fre- 
quently as he may be able, in the church, on the 
plantation, and in private; all this does not super- 
sede the necessity of home instruction by pious mas- 
ters, mistresses, and other members of the house- 
hold. The co-operation of the latter is essential to 
the full success of the labours performed by the 
former. The position of the slave precludes the 
pastor and the missionary from doing many things 
for his spiritual guidance which his ignorance and 
varied temptations render necessary: this "lack of 
service " should be supplied at home. 

In view of these facts, we hail with peculiar satis- 
faction every judicious effort which is made to assist 
Christians having servants under their control, in 
carrying out a system of household instruction. 
This little volume has been prepared, and it is now 
published, for such purpose. The discourses con- 
tained in it first appeared as a monthly series in 
the Southern Presbyterian (Charleston, S. C.) and 
having been strongly commended by ministers and 
intelligent laymen of our communion, it has been 
thought advisable to give them a wide circulation 
in a form adapted to a more convenient and perma- 
nent use. The author, at the time of writing them, 
was the pastor of a church which embraced over 
four hundred " coloured communicants." Mingling 
much with them in the discharge of his pastoral 
duties, he became acquainted in no ordinary degree, 


•with the peculiarities of their mental structure and 
habits — their modes of thinking, and their suscep- 
tibility of impressions, both good and bad — and 
with their wants in common with other sinners and 
partially sanctified Christians. The knowledge thus 
derived has suggested the propriety of those features 
which will strike the reader as characteristic of the 
discourses, such as, the simplicity and directness of 
the language ; the free use of figures of speech and 
varied illustrations ; the rapid transitions from one 
course of thought to another, &c. If any apology 
for the abbreviations of familiar words and other 
colloquialisms be necessary, it is sufficient to say 
that the author's theory as to the best mode of 
addressing the blacks is, that the preacher must 
put himself in sympathy with them, by using lan- 
guage in some such foi^m as they are accustomed to 
hear it from day to day. Not that he must descend 
to the use of coarse, offensive terms, or of forms of 
expression that are grammatically inaccurate, for 
nothing of this kind will be found in these "Plan- 
tation Sermons ; " but his style must be free, famil- 
iar, animated, stirring, as opposed to the formal and 
stately, the distant and the heavy. We have had 
an opportunity of knowing that the features here 
referred to, have been found upon actual trial, to 
adapt the discourses most happily to the capacities 
and tastes of the class for whom they are designed. 
Of the importance of the subjects treated of in 
the volume and the sound, Scriptural views of truth 


presented, we need say nothing, as a glance over the 
table of contents will satisfy the reader on the first 
point, and the imprimatur of our Board is a suffi- 
cient voucher for the second. 

Private Christians, engaged in labours for the 
religious improvement of the blacks, often feel tlie 
need of something to read to them which, whilst it 
imparts solid instruction in a style adapted to the 
grade of their intellects, shall engage their atten- 
tion by its vivacity, and quicken their emotions by 
the warmth of its tone. To such we commend these 
discourses. The very form in which they are pre- 
sented — that of the sermon — will give them a dig- 
nity and favour in the view of the blacks that belong 
to no other address. They love the sermon ; they 
love to recall and talk over the text of the sermon. 
Those who are accustomed from week to week to 
call together the servants of the field or of the 
house, to read, converse, and pray with them, or to 
instruct them from the catechism, will find a valua- 
ble auxiliary in this volume. Some who are deter- 
red from attempting to hold meetings of this cha- 
racter, through a distrust of their own capacity to 
render them profitable, with these discourses m their 
hands need not fear to undertake the work. If the 
master of the family should refuse to go forward in 
a duty that obviously devolves primarily upon him, 
let the mistress assume the responsibility, as she 
has often to assume it in respect to the religious 
instruction of the children ; and in default of the 


proper services of the master and mistress, let the 
pious son or daughter be their substitute. It is a 
blessed work, — instructing the ignorant, teaching 
the truth as it is in Jesus, guiding souls to the 
knowledge of salvation — and, surely, none who 
have learned the value of their own souls, or the 
preciousness of the Saviour's love, will esteem it 
otherwise than a delightful work. 

Charleston, S. C, March, 1856 



*^ The way of transgressors is hardy — Pbov. xiii. 15. 

This world is a sorrowful place ; not one of us 
ever saw the man jet, that had no sorrow — that 
had no sickness, no hard, painful work ; no dan 
ger; nobody to trouble him; no conscience finding 
fault with him, and making him feel ashamed and 
afraid, because he had done wrong. Wherevdi- we 
go, we find sickness, and tears, and death. Every- 
where people are tired of living, and afraid to die 
— everywhere they are disappointed in their plans; 
they get weary when they expected to be merry ; 
they change about from one thing to another, 
but they find trouble everywhere. I know there's 
a great deal of difference among people — some 
are sick all their lives, and some are well and 
strong. Some see their children and their friends 
all die, one after another, and others, again, have 
them all alive and well, — or if they die, they 
hardly miss them. Some are always getting dis- 

2 16 


appointed and put out, and some get along easily 
But in spite of that, everybody has his trouble: 
if your children all live, maybe some of them 
behave so badly that they have to be sent away, 
or they keep you afraid something dreadful will 
happen to them — or maybe they are so sickly, 
and they suffer so much, that you'd almost rather 
see them die. If you are strong and healthy, 
something else goes wrong. You never can say, 
"Now I'm happy," unless you're a Christian. 

And what makes it worse is, that things do not 
get better as life goes on. We don't begin with- 
out trouble; and when we are little children we 
don't keep on getting over it as we grow up, 
and so get quite happy when we are old. Oh, 
no! The old man is the worst off of all, unless 
he is a Christian; his eyes, that used to be so 
bright and keen, are almost blind — his old ears 
can hardly hear the cock crow in the morn- 
ing — his hand, that was so strong and steady a 
little while ago, shakes now, like a leaf when 
the wind blows. In the night he can't sleep 
sound, and in the day he leans on his stick. 
And so he pines away; he can't work, and he 
can't rest — and oh, if he isn't ready to die, 
all this trouble is only the beginning of sorrow 
for himl Before long, he'll be weeping, and 
wailing, and gnashing his teeth, because God 
is angry with him for ever ! 

Now we know there's always sin wher^ 


tliere s trouble. Just as certain as there is fire 
where you see smoke, just so sure there is sin 
where you see people suffer, and weep and die. 
And what a terrible thing this sin must be, 
if it brings all this sorrow — if it makes the 
body sicken and die, and the mother's heart 
almost break because" her child's dead — if it 
makes men hate one another, and rob and mur- 
der — makes them groan and perish, and takes 
them to that awful place when they die. Oh, 
what a dreadful thing sin must be! — And this 
is what I want to talk about to-day — the mis- 
chief that sin does — "the way of transgressors 
is hard. 

I. It donH always begin hard. It feels quite 
pleasant, for a minute or two, to have your own 

A man started, one pleasant afternoon, to take 
a sail. All was still; the ebb tide floated him 
down, and the soft breeze bore him along. He 
went on and on, over the bar, out to sea; the 
blue water was smooth and still; he thought 
he was quite safe, and he lay down and slept. 
But presently a black cloud rose over the land; 
the breeze fell away, and the little sail flapped 
on the mast, as the boat rocked. Pretty soon 
the thunder began to boom out; then the light- 
ning flashed brighter and brighter, as the black 
cloud crept on nearer and faster, almost over 
his head. Then came the roaring wind, to stir 


up the waves, and beat him down in the sea ; 
the thunder cracked like a thousand rifles, and 
woke the poor fellow from his dangerous sleep; 
and as he pulled away at the oars, and tried to 
work back under the lee once more, he saw how 
foolish he had been. Higher and higher the 
waves tossed up and dashed against his little 
boat, and drove him out to sea. All he could 
do would 'nt save him. — There he was in the 
wide ocean; night came on; not a friend to 
help him, and the raging Avind roaring over his 
head ! But God was in the storm, and just as 
he was readj to give up and die, the wind fell, 
and the waves grew still by degrees, and the 
light-house shone out clear and bright to guide 
him home. — So he toiled away at the oars, 
and just at day-break he was safe again; but 
he found, after all the smooth time he had at 
first, that " the way of transgressors is hard." 
And just so it is in sinning. 

It begins so easily. Perhaps it is a cool, 
pleasant Sunday morning; and as you look at 
your corn, and see how much it needs work- 
ing, and wonder if you ' 11 ever have such a 
chance again, you think it will be very easy 
and pleasant to get it all in order. You feel 
strong and ready for it ; you count up how 
much the corn will be worth when it's ripe, 
and how much more you '11 have if you work 
it now, than if you wait awhile; you are quite 


sure nobody will see you tliat's going to blame 
you; you don't care much about going to church; 
the more you think about it, the more you feel 
like it, and the more certain you are that it 
can' t be such a bad thing, or such a danger- 
ous thing, as people say. 'And so, maybe at last 
you get your hoe and go to work; the sun 
don 't beat down on you ; the thunder don 't 
roll over your head to frighten you; nobody 
finds fault with you ; your conscience don 't trou- 
ble you much. And so you begin to think it 
was all very well done, and that it's all over 
now. Ah, that 's a dreadful mistake ! God says, 
" the way of the transgressor is hard" what- 
ever you think about it, and he's sure to rnake 
you think so, too, before he 's done with you. 

II. The sinner's way is a hard way, because 
he has a hard master, or rather, because he 
has a hard set of masters. A man's master is 
the one he works for, and the one he minds 
the most. Not G-od ; for he don 't mind God's 
word at all. Not the Lord Jesus, for he does 'nt 
do his work at all. Who are the sinner's masters? 

One of them is Satan. They please him oftener, 
and do more of his work than anybody's else ! 
As Paul says, " they walk according to the prince 
of the power of the air." You know what that 
means? It means that you do exactly what he 
wants done ! Isn 't that a strange and dreadful 
thing? You have a cunning and a cruel ene- 



my; lie hates you because God made you, and 
because God loves you. 

When Adam aud Eve were pure and happy, 
he never rested till he had ruined them, and 
robbed God of them, as he thought. Then, when 
they were grieving and leaving their Heavenly 
Father; when the angry angels were driving 
them away; when the beautiful home in Eden 
was gone for ever; when their hearts were full 
of bitterness, and sin, and woe ; then Satan was 
pleased, and clapped his hands for joy. They 
were walking according to the "prince of this 
world." You see, then, how cunning, and cruel, 
and wicked he is; how he tries to disappoint, 
and rob, and vex the great God ; how he loves 
to ruin men, and take their souls to hell. — 
Don 't you think he must be a hard master ? 
and Paul says he is the sinner's master. But 
maybe you'll say, "How can he be my master? 
I don't like him, and I don't do anything 
because I think he wants me to." I tell you, 
that makes very little difference; he's so anx- 
ious to have God displeased, and mischief done, 
and souls lost and sent to hell, that he doesn't 
care whether you wanted to do it or not. — 
Besides, you let him tempt you whenever he 
likes; he can put wicked thoughts in your 
minds, and you won't drive them away; he can 
rouse all your bad passions, and you won 't pray 
to God to cure them ; he can make a wrong 


thing look pleasant and good to jou, and you 
won't shut your eyes and turn away, and say, 
*' How can I do this great wickedness, and sin 
against God?" And so, if you try ever so hard 
not to believe it, you see Satan is your master; 
you do what he likes, and you let him persuade 
you to sin. 

Another of the sinner's masters is his own 
wicked heart. Maybe you '11 wonder at that, and 
say, " Why, my heart 's a part of me ; how can 
it be my master ? " Let me ask you a ques- 
tion, now — How can the rudder turn the boat, 
when it's a piece of the boat itself? I sup- 
pose you'll tell me, which ever way the rudder 
turns, the boat turns. Well, that's exactly the 
way your heart is your master; whichever way 
your heart turns, you turn. That's just what 
Solomon said — "Out of the heart are the issues 
of life." That means, your life will be what 
your heart makes it. Now, if your heart can 
make you live any way it pleases, then your 
heart is your master. Let's see if it doesn't. 

Suppose a man has a dishonest heart; he 
wants to have what belongs to somebody else, 
even if he has to steal it. Why, then, of course, 
he does steal it when he gets a chance, unless 
he's too much afraid of being found out. Or 
suppose he has a cowardly heart; he isn't wil- 
ling to run a little risk when he ought to. 
Why, then, he runs away instead of standing up 


like a man. And so, if you have a wicked heart, 
a heart that doesn't love God, or his ways, or 
his dear Son, you 're certain to live as if you 
didn't love him, and so your life will be wicked, 
as well as your heart. Now, I say, a wicked 
and selfish heart is a very had master. It doesn't 
give you time to find out whether you hadn't 
better serve the Lord, and love your neighbour, 
and be good. No ! it hurries you right off into 
sin. No matter if the Bible warns you, and God 
forbids and threatens you, and your own con- 
science begs you to stop; the wicked heart will 
have its own way, and it makes you God's 

III. The sinner's way is a hard way, Ibecause 
he has hard wages and a dreadful end. 

What are the wages? That is, what does he 
get by sinning ? First : he gets had hahits. A 
first sin of any sort is like the first drop of 
water that leaks through a bank; the water 
carries away a little grain of sand, and makes 
the leak larger — then two drops can creep 
through instead of one, and carry away tliree 
times as much sand, and make room for four or 
five drops, and so, before anybody expects it, 
the whole bank falls in, and the whole flood is 
let loose. Just so with sinning : the first wicked 
thing of any kind that you do, swearing, or 
Sabbath-breaking, or any other, may be a very 
little one, but it carries away a little of your 


conscience and self-respect, and makes way for a 
greater sin, and that for a worse one, and so 
on, till they wear a regular channel in you, 
■ where the sin pours steadily on you. You may 
forget it, or be ashamed of it, or deny it, or 
try to stop it; but there it is, and now it is so 
much easier to do the wrong thing than to keep 
from it, that you are sadly discouraged and ready 
to leave it so. That's a bad habit. Now a sin- 
ner is a bundle of bad habits; he has habits of 
not doing what he ought to do, and of doing 
what he ought not to do. He has a habit of 
not minding what he hears in Church — a habit 
of not i^raying when he gets up in the morn- 
ing, or when he goes to bed at night — a habit 
of not regarding God or Christ, or heaven, 
or hell, but forgetting them as if there were 
no such things. He has a habit of pleasing him- 
self and seeking his own interest — a habit of 
thinking about his own little affairs in the world, 
instead of the things that are to last for ever. 
Then he may have other habits — a habit of 
swearing, or Sabbath-breaking, or foolish talking; 
he may be dishonest, or drunken, or passionate, 
or cruel; but they all spring out of this one 
thing — being a sinner; and if he gets right 
there, he'll get right all the way through. 
AYhat a sad sight it is, to see a man who 
might be so manly and so brave against sin 
and Satan, tied down by bad habits — ashamed 


of tlie way lie lives and the things he does, and 
yet he can't spring up and break away from 
them, though he' knows they'll ruin his soul. 
Those bad habits are some of the wages of sin. 
Another thing you get by sinning is a hard 
heart. The most beautiful thing in a little child 
is its tender heart, ready to love anybody that 
will be a little kind; it will love its nurse, or 
its mother, or its brothers and sisters, or almost 
anybody that it sees often. You can make it smile 
by looking bright at it ; often you can make it 
cry by frowning, and if you train it right, that 
little heart will keep tender a long while; 
and, as I said, it's the most beautiful thing in 
the little child. When you and I were • children, 
we had just such hearts ; our mother's arms were 
a shelter and a joy to us — we loved everybody 
that we knew, that loved us; when their faces 
were dark, our hearts were heavy, and when 
they were glad, we were happy. But now, how 
different we are! We know God loves us, but 
we don't love him; we know he frowns on our 
sins, but we don't weep or tremble. That's one 
of our excuses for not being Christians, that we 
can't feel. And it's partly true, too; we can't 
feel about God and the Lord Jesus, and sin, and 
heaven as we ought. If an angel could take 
your place and find himself a sinner, he would 
die with shame and sorrow; but you don't die 
of grief because you have grieved God; you ai^e. 

T H E H A R D W A T. 23 

liglit-liearted, maybe, and cheerful, and wonder 
at Christians because they sometimes weep and 
mourn about their sins. The Bible tells us 
how the saints in heaven shout for joy when 
a sinner's saved ; how they cast their golden 
crowns at the Saviour's feet, and sing and praise 
him for ever — how they are as happy as the 
angels because they have Jesus for their shep- 
herd and their friend: but if you were there 
with that same heart, you wouldn't feel like 
them; such joy and love as they feel couldn't 
get into your heart at all, because ifs so hard. 
How is it now? Do you weep for joy, and 
sing and praise, when you hear that a sinner is 
converted? Does it make you as happy as an 
angel to love and serve the Lord ? Ah, no I 
that's not the way you enjoy yourself — your 
heart's too hard ! 

Now, I say, to get a hard heart by sinning 
is very hard wages indeed. The heart's the 
place for happiness, and peace, and love, not for 
pride or hardness ; and just so sure as a land 
where no rain falls will be a hot and thirsty 
desert, with not a stream of cooling water, or a 
flower, or a shady tree, just so sure a heart that 
is hardened in sin will be bitter and uneasy 
and heavy. What makes the difference between 
an angel and a devil? The devil has a heart 
as hard as rock, while the angel is always loving 
and always rejoicing. 


Another thing we get by sinning is a troubled 
conscience. There 's a something in us that writes 
down all we do, whether it's good or evil; and 
that stings us with shame and pain when we 
do wrong. Sometimes it stings us right off, 
as soon as we sin; sometimes it lays it up 
against us, to make us suffer hereafter; but if 
it does lay it up for another time, it keeps us 
uneasy and troubled now. When you took God's 
holy day for working, or fishing, or pleasure, 
conscience didn't strike so hard, or speak so 
loud, as to make you give it up; but just hard 
enough and loud enough to spoil it all. Yery 
likely you wondered what the matter was, and 
why you couldn't enjoy yourself; and many 
times since then, you have thought, "what is 
this that spoils my pleasure, and disappoints and 
troubles me? What makes my heart so heavy 
and sad ? " It ^s that evil conscience laying up 
your sins, and getting ready to sting you with 
them. Every time you swear, or speak an 
angry word, or break the Sabbath; every time 
you are proud, or cruel, or passionate, or selfish; 
every time you harden your heart against your 
kind Saviour and the great God; every wrong 
thing you do, and every right thing you won't 
do, conscience writes it down, and gets her ter- 
rible chains and troubles ready to frighten you 
when you're sick, and to make you tremble and 
mourn when you come to die. Such a con- 
science is hard wages to get for sinning! 


Once more, the sinner comes to a dreadful eiid; 
"the wages of sin is death;'' not this first 
death, when the sick and perishing body is laid 
in the grave. Oh, no! it's the second death, the 
woe and anguish that comes on the soul for 
ever — that's the fearful thing! You know very 
well that no man can describe it: it's so horri- 
ble that no words can tell it all; we can only 
put you in mind of it and of what the Bible 
says. It tells you how you'll feel there; you'll 
weep, and wail, and gnash your teeth. It tells 
you who • will be with you there, the devils 
and lost sinners — all who have been too wicked 
to go anywhere else, will be sent to hell, and 
there you must dwell with them for ever. It's 
a bottomless pit, and the smoke rises up from 
it continually; it's a lake that burneth with 
fire and brimstone, and the lost are there in 
chains and darkness for ever. There they lift 
up their eyes, being in torment, and see the 
holy, happy saints in heaven, always safe and 
always glorious; and they beg for one drop of 
water to cool their tongues, but it never comes • 
they are shut up there for ever ! Oh, how they 
groan and perish there! They cry, "Oh, if I 
could only get one Sunday again ! if the Lord 
Jesus would only call me once more! if I only 
had one chance to repent and be saved I But 
now it's too late, too late!" 

Tell me, now, if the Bible wasn 't right, wheu 


it said, " the way of the transgressors is hard." 
They are cheated into going on in sin, because 
it begins easily; and so they give themselves 
up to those hard masters, Satan and their 
•wicked hearts; and they get those hard wages, 
bad habits, hard hearts, and troubled consciences; 
and they come to this awful end! Oh, why 
should you go on in sin? Why should any 
man, with a head and a heart, keep on griev- 
ing God, and laying up trouble, and getting 
ready for hell? The Lord doesn't shut you up 
in sin and woe. The Bible hasn't given up 
telling you of a Saviour, and a Holy Spirit, 
and a way to heaven. The great Spirit of 
God hasn't spread his wings, and left this 
stubborn and wicked world. The judgment 
day hasn't come yet, to burn up the Gospel, 
and chain us down in the flames. The Judge 
hasn't told us yet, to "depart, ye cursed, into 
everlasting fire ! " Oh, why will we die ? Let 
us remember the dear Lord Jesus now, and 
believe on him. Let us pray to God to take 
away our stony hearts, and forgive our sins. 
Let us say, "Farewell, wicked and sorrowful 
world! I'm tired of shame and sin; I take 
the Lord for my portion; I look to Jesus 
to save me. — Farewell, hard heart! Farewell, 
death i My Eedeemer is mine, and I am 




^^For there is not a just man on earth that doeth good and 
sinneth notP — Eccl. vii. 20. 

The Bible tells us a great many sad and ter- 
rible things; and every day we see and feel 
pain, and hear the groans of the sick and the 
sorrowful ; but nothing is more dreadful than 
what the text tells us. Nothing else is so shame- 
ful and sad as this — all men are sinners. 

Think of it! Here is a world full of people: 
travel as far as you can — go through the 
woods and the deserts — sail away over the 
sea to the farthest islands — go north, or south, 
or east, or west, and you find men everywhere, 
and every man of them is a sinner. — Some are 
comfortable, and some miserable ; some are savage, 
and some civilized; some live in fine houses, and 
some burrow in the ground; some are wise, and 
many are foolish — but every one is a sinner 1 
You will find a great many strange and curious 
things among them ; a great many stronger, wiser, 
more beautiful, more happy, than you ever dreamed 
of; but the strangest thing of all, the thing the 
whole wide world can 't show you, is "a just 


man that sinnetli not." Not one that God can 
smile on, and say, "This man is like the holy 
angels; this woman is fit to dwell with me in 
heaven." Not one that can take any credit to 
himself before God, lor anything he has done; 
not one whose conscience don't accuse him and 
condemn him ! Not one living man that hasn 't 
been converted, can close his eyes in peace, 
when his time comes to die, and say, All is well! 
The whole world lieth in wickedness; it is full 
of shame and trouble; it is under God's curse. 
It is so vile a world, that it will have to be burnt 
up to get rid of it, like a small-pox hospital. As 
soon as the sick man dies or gets well, you know, 
we set fire to the house and destroy it ; it is too 
vile for anybody to live in. Just so with this 
world : it is a hospital for sinners. God will 
cure some and take them to heaven ; others will 
die in sin and be lost for ever; and then God 
will send fire on this ruined world and burn it 
up. Sin has poisoned it so that it will never 
be fit to live in again. 

I. Think what a world of misery it is. The 
little child just born begins its life by crying, 
and I suppose everybody feels that it is just 
the way such a life as this ought to begin. 
Man is born to trouble as the sparks fly up : 
it is just as natural for him to suff'er as for 
the sparks to shoot up out of the fire. Not 
one mother can save her child from pain, even 


while it's a baby in her arms, much less after 
it grows larger. Our teeth ache ; the wind chills 
us ; the sun makes us faint with weakness and 
distress. Fever finds us out; parches us with 
thirsty days and weary nights ; we toss on our beds 
and pine away, in spite of all that our friends 
can do for us. What thousands of accidents are 
happening! A tree falls on one man and 
crushes his limbs; another man is thrown from 
his horse, or dragged under the wheel and 
mangled horribly. Fire, wind, waves, lightning 
— all things — hurt and slay us. Look at the 
wars that rage all over the earth; men hating 
and wounding and killing one another, till fields 
are soaked with blood ! 

How many passionate and cruel fathers there 
are: yes, and mothers, too. How many children 
are beaten terribly when they Ve only done a 
little wrong; or perhaps they haven't done 
wrong at all. How many drunken fathers and 
mothers, that fight and abuse each other, and 
their children besides ! How many neglect their 
children — leave them to suffer with cold and 
hunger; nothing to eat, and no fire, while they 
go away and amuse themselves. How many men 
quarrel, and do each other all the harm they 
can ; rob, steal, slander, murder, because their 
hearts are full of malice and revenge. So suf- 
fering grows and spreads over the whole world. 
And we mustn't forget what a world of toil it 


is. Every honest man lives by hard work; 
and the thief really works the hardest of all. 
If we don't work the fields, nothing grows 
there but weeds and briars; if we don't take 
care of the cattle, nothing will be left but wild 
beasts; if we don't watch over our children, 
and work for them, they will perish. We have 
to get all our comforts by hard work; if we 
are idle, we are sure to be miserable. And yet 
what a sad sight it is — a whole world worn 
out with work! When we want to sit down in 
peace and enjoy ourselves, behold, there is some- 
thing or other that must be done, and we must 
deny ourselves, and go and do it. This is just 
what the Bible says: "All things are full of 
labour; man cannot utter it." 

Now, how comes the world to be so full of 
sorrow and toil? Who is it that sends pain 
and trouble? Who is mighty enough to com- 
mand the winds and waves, and to hold the 
storms in his hand? Who can take away the 
strength of the strong man ; lay him on a bed 
of pain, and keep him there ? Who can let 
loose consumption, and fever, and cholera on us, 
and take away a whole family or a whole na- 
tion? Only God. God is good; he declares to 
us that he " doth not willingly afflict the chil- 
dren of men." He sends us more blessings than 
we can count; and yet he racks our bodies 
with pain, and tears our hearts with sorrow ! 

NONE K r G H T E U S. 31 

He owns it I He says: "I kill and make alive: 
I wound and I lieal." '' For lie maketh sore 
and bindetli up ; lie woundetli and his hand 
maketh whole." "Before him went the pestilence, 
and burning coals went forth at his feet." So it 
must be because we deserve it all, that our 
great Father in heaven afflicts us. As I said 
just now, we are under God's curse for sin ; 
that awful curse brought down sickness and 
death, and slew us. That is what the Bible 
says : " By one man sin entered into the world, and 
death by sin ; and death passed on all men, 
because all have sinned." And now the world 
is just like a piece of woods : sometimes we 
send and cut down a tree here and there, as 
we want it; and sometimes we clear a whole 
field — cut down and destroy the whole. Every 
clay men die ; one here and another somewhere 
else; sometimes death sweeps them away by 
hundreds together. We are all condemned to 
die, and sooner or later we know we must go ; 
and the reason that all are condemned is, that 
all are sinners. 

But I can prove it in another way. I can show 
you that all men in their hearts believe it. I know 
they talk against it often, but their actions speak 
louder than their words. Show me a man that 
trusts everybody. The little child believes every 
thing you tell it, for a while. It uoesn't know the 
wickedness of the world, and it thinks what any- 


body says must be true, But how soon all that is 
gone ! It begins to watch and try everybody, to 
see if they can be trusted : it comes to expect that 
men will say what isn't true, and do what isn't 
right, when it suits them. And before we are 
grown up, we know that everybody does wrong 
sometimes. Now we learn that by experience; 
we begin with trusting, and we end with sus- 
pecting, all over the world. Isn't it so? Don't 
we put locks on our chests, and locks on our 
doors, and bar our windows on the inside? 
We all make it a rule to be cautious with 
strangers, because it is far more likely that 
they will do us harm than that they'll do us 
good. And this you see, shows what the whole 
world's experience is — that all men are sinners. 
Presently I will show you that the Bible says 
so too. 

II. But how came it so? How did the world 
come to be wicked? Surely God didn't make 
sinners ! That 's one question nobody can an- 
swer without going to the Bible. There it's 
all made plain: it's a sad and terrible story. 

God made this great world. Before that, 
there was nothing here — neither trees, nor land, 
nor sea — not so much as a cloud or a blue 
sky! Nothing was here but God. He is every- 
where. He called it out of nothing with one 
word: there it stood at his command; "He 
hath made the round world so sure that it 


cannot be moved." Then he brought light to 
shine on it — poured off the waters from the 
land and gathered them into the sea. Soon 
he commanded the sun to beam out bright and 
warm, while he spread the grass and flowers 
and fruit trees and woods all over the land, 
and created the beasts and birds, and every 
other living thing, from the wild beast to the 
worm on the ground. All was busy and happy : 
the rivers were running down to the sea — the 
sun and moon walked in brightness along the 
sky — the cattle lay down in peace in the shadow 
of tall trees, and the birds were singing in the 
branches. That was the time, in the pleasant 
afternoon, while everything was fresh and still 
and happy, that the Lord God formed man out 
of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his 
nostrils the breath of life, and man became a 
living soul. Ah, if they only could have known 
what man would do, what sorrow and terror 
would have been there ! The birds would have 
drooped and pined and flown away; the very 
cattle would have sprung up and escaped for 
their lives, far from such a dreadful enemy, 
such a curse to the whole creation, as man is. 
But there was no sign of all this misery then: 
nothing was frightened or troubled when God 
came down in the cool evening and put man 
in his garden of Eden, and set his wife beside 
him for a help and a joy for ever. 


What a beautiful home that was ! The breeze 
blew soft and sweet over the flowers; all the 
strange and wonderful creatures that God had 
made, came near them and stood still — not one 
was afraid of Adam then ! Eve was by his 
side : the great God his Father was close by, 
loving and blessing them. So the sun went 
down, they slept in peace, and awoke; for God 
was with them, and made them dwell in safety. 

That was the first Sabbath day. How kind 
God was to begin Adam's life with a Sabbath — 
a day to worship and praise him I No doubt 
Adam's heart was in tune that once, and full 
of joy and love to the great God who was so good 
to him. No doubt he knelt down on the green 
grass, and clasped his hands, and raised his eyes 
to see his Father's face ; and he wondered, while 
he thanked the Lord, that He should take such 
care for him. No doubt he promised to love 
and serve God for ever ; how could he help it ? 
Yes, he gave himself away to the Lord God, 
to be his obedient and happy son always. 

So the Lord tried him. He showed him one 
tree in all the garden that he called the Tree 
of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and he com- 
manded Adam not to touch it or to eat of the 
fruit. He even warned him what would happen 
if he should break his promise — "in the day 
thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die." Very 
likely Adam was shocked to hear, that perhaps 


he would disobey tlie Lord God: he never 
thought it could be so. Oh, if he only had taken 
warning ! But he didn 't ; he went on as if he 
was safe, and that ruined him. 

The devil — that cruel and terrible being that 
goes about even now like a roaring lion, seek- 
ing whom he may devour — the devil crept into 
God's garden, looking like a serpent, and went 
to this same tree, and waited there till he saw 
Eve. And he said to Eve, " Hath God said, 
Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" 
She told him, " We may eat of the fruit of the 
trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree 
in the midst of the garden God hath said, Ye 
shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, 
lest ye die." And the serpent said, "Ye shall 
not surely die ! For God doth know that in the 
day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be 
opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good 
and evil." And when Eve saw that the tree 
was good for food, and pleasant to the eyes, 
and to be desired because it would make her 
wise, she took of the fruit and ate, and gave 
Adam, and he ate. Then Satan's work was done! 
It was God's own garden, and they were God's 
own children, and yet he robbed God of them 
— filled their pure and holy minds with pride 
and sin, and cast them down before God's angry 
eye, to wither and perish in shame and woe for 
ever. They heard the voice of the Lord God 


as he walked in the garden in the evening — 
just the same time when they were first made — 
but oh, how changed everything was ! Then their 
souls were full of praise, and wonder, and delight ; 
they could listen to his voice then, and it was 
the sweetest sound to them in the whole gar- 
den. Why not? He was their Father then, 
and they were his dear and blessed children. 
But now ! They were afraid I — hid themselves 
among the trees! That tells you the whole 
story : their conscience was loaded with sin ; 
they had come to be disobedient, and selfish, and 
miserable in that little while ! 

That was tlie way sin came into the world ; 
the very two peoj^le that God made, though he 
made them so pure and good at first, those very 
ones broke his holy law and disobeyed him in 
his own garden, so that he had to drive them 
away. And their children were just like them. 
Cain was their first son, and he was a murderer. 
That's just the way men have gone on ever 
since; every man is a sinner, and every man's 
children are just like him. After a while the 
world got so wicked, God could 'nt bear it any 
longer. In his wrath he tore up the fountains 
of the great deep, and broke open the windows 
of heaven, and poured such a flood on the earth, 
that everybody was drowned, except Noah in 
the ark, and those that were put there with 
him. But as soon as the flood was over, Noah 


and his children began again ; wherever they 
went, sin and sorrow went, and spread out like 
the flood, and covered the whole world, just as it 
is this day ; sin everywhere — swearing, lying, 
Sabbath-breaking, wicked passions, rage, murder, 
and sorrow everywhere — pain and fear, sickness 
and wounds, shame and remorse — and death. Ah, 
if that was all, we might try and bear it; but 
the worst is to come — after death the judgment, 
and after the judgment the lake of fire and 
brimstone, and the worm that never dies ! 

III. But people sometimes think there must be 
a mistake about this ; they know a great many 
are wicked, but they are sure that some are good. 
Of course, everybody has faults, i\\Qj don't deny 
that : but they think some have only such little 
faults, and are so good in other ways, that they 
oughtn't to be counted among sinners. 

Now the first thing I want to say about it is 
this : when people talk so they contradict the Bible. 
Look at that verse I began with — "There is 
not a just man on earth that doeth good and 
sinneth not." That was what king Solomon said, 
the wisest man that ever lived. And his father, 
good king David said, "There is none that doeth 
good — no, not one." And Paul says ," God hath 
shut all up together under sin" — that is, God 
calls us all sinners. And John the Apostle, 
though he was such a kind-hearted man, says the 
same thing: "If we say we have no sin, we 


deceive ourselves, and we make God a liar.^^ Who 
will dare to deny his sins after that? 

The next thing is, that the best people in the 
world are the very ones that call themselves sin- 
ners I Isn't it so? Look round now among 
all your friends, and pick out the most blameless 
and holy one of all — the one you never saw 
in a passion, or doing anything wrong — and 
ask him if he is "a just man that sinneth 
not." And just as surely as he's good, he'll 
tell you he's a sinner. But surely you don't 
expect to find anybody better than David, and 
he cried in his prayer, " have mercy upon me, 
God, and pardon mine iniquity, for it is 
great," Or can you find a better man than 
Paul? And yet he called himself "the chief 
of sinners." 

No; the reason why people think they are 
not sinners when they are, is this — they don't 
know what sin is. They think it is doing wrong 
to men or disgracing ourselves ; but in truth 
it is disobeying and forgetting God. " Thou 
shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart 
and soul and mind and strength, and thy neighbour 
as thyself;" that's God's law, and every man that 
ever lived has broken it, and every man alive 
now is breaking it. That made David say, " If 
thou, Lord, wert strict to mark iniquity, Lord, 
who shall stand?" Now, when we think how 
good God is, how holy and how gracious, always 


loving and blessing and pitying us, isn't it 
terrible to remember that the whole world for- 
gets him — everybody turns his back on him, 
breaks his law, rejects his gospel, and grieves 
his dear Son? That bad treatment of God is 
sin; and unless he changes our hearts, we are 
all ungrateful, and all unbelieving — and so we 
all are sinners. 

Three more things I must tell you, and then 
I will be done. 

1. If all men are guilty alike and condemned 
alike, then no man can help you out of your 
trouble. Which of the** prisoners in a jail can 
pardon the rest? No more can any man save 
you from God's anger. You must go for mercy 
to God himself. He can save you, and he alone. 

2. You must begin by confessing your sin. 
That was where the publican began that the 
Lord Jesus told about; he stood low down in 
the temple, and and didn't so much as lift up 
his eyes from the ground, but struck his hand 
on his heart and said, " God, be merciful to 
me a sinner;" and the Lord says he went down 
to his house justified — that is, he was pardoned, 
and the proud Pharisee was condemned. That 
was where Mary Magdalene b^gan ; she came 
and kneeled down behind him, and wept so 
that the tears ran down upon his feet, and 
then she wiped them away with her hair. At 


last lie said, "Thy sins are forgiven tliee;" go 
in peace. 

3. You must believe in the Saviour God has 
sent. God is wise and we are foolish. He is 
good, and we are wicked. He is the Lord our 
Father, and we are poor lost sinners, kneeling 
at his feet. Now, if he looks down on us and 
says, " I have provided a Saviour for you, and 
he will do the whole work and set you free," 
surely we ought to say right off, " Who is he. 
Lord, that I may believe on him?" And when 
he points to the Lord Jesus, bleeding, dying 
on the cross, and rising 'again out of the grave, 
we ought to. drive away our grief and shame, 
and rejoice. We ought to run right to the 
Saviour, and put ourselves in his hands; we 
needn't be anxious or sorrowful any more, for 
lie is "the Lamb of God that taketh away the 
sins of the world." 

I wonder if there is anybody here to-day 
with a troubled conscience and a heavy heart; 
anybody tired of sin and afraid to die as he 
is. Poor sinner, come to the Lord Jesus, and 
beg him to save you. See how patiently he's 
waiting for you, how kindly he smiles on you I 
If you will only come and try him, he will say, 
*'Thy faith hath saved thee — go in peace I" 



^ '%:ffif~3::i^iTHi'UL saying. 

" Tliis iif^tj^afttJiful saying and worthy of all acceptationj 
that Christ Jesus came into the wor[d to save sinners." — 
1 Tim. i. 15. 

Many years ago, three missionaries sailed away 
over the ocean, far from their homes and from 
every friend but God, to a little island they had 
heard of, where no man had ever preached the 
gospel. It was almost as beautiful to look at 
as the garden of Eden; it was covered with 
green trees that bore delightful fruits — bright 
little rivers ran down from^^e mountains a 
few miles, and poured into the smooth clear 
water of the sea. -There was no winter there; 
hardly ever a \^torm of thunder and mighty 
wind tore up the people's trees, or wrecked 
their little boats. All looked safe and joyful, 
► and lovely: but the %^Ie island was full of 
sin, and wickedness, au^death. They worship- 
ped idols, and even killed one another to offer 
up the dead bodies to stones and huge blocks 
of wood ! Often they murdered their children ; 
they fought with each other with the most hor 


rible clubs and spears you can think of. 
There was nothing so cruel, or so shameless, or 
so wicked, that these people wouldn't do it. 
So these missionaries, when they heard about it, 
took pity on them, and went to tell them what 
a Saviour God has given us, and to persuade 
them to flee from the wrath to come. 

For a long while, nobody minded what they 
said : if the people listened a few minutes, pre- 
sently they began to mock the missionaries, or 
even to throw stones at them. At last one day, 
they read this verse to them out of the Bible, 
^•God so loved the world, that he gave his only 
begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him 
inio'ht not perish, but have everlasting life." An 
old man got up and said, "Stop! read that 
again!" So they read it again, "God so loved 
the world that he gave his only Son." " Are 
you sure of that?" he said ; ^^ God so loved the 
world I " And he wept out loud, and went away 
to think about it, and to wonder over it, and 
then came back again and again, to beg them 
to read to him that " God loved the world." 
Soon he believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, 
and all his life long he kept those words in 
his heart. Now, he is gone to see that dear 
Saviour that God gave, and to live for ever 
with him. 

And I wonder, every day, that when people 
hear those words, or this verse that I read just 


HOW, they don't stop me and ask me to read it 
a.^-ain. ^'Did Jesus Christ come to save sinners? 
Are you sure he did? Oh, what good news!" 
I wonder they don 't listen, and weep, and rejoice 
even while they are weeping, to hear of a Sa- 
viour from heaven. But, alas! that isn't the way 
men treat God's good news. They know it's 
true — they can't deny it; but they care nothing 
about it. They go on, after we have told them, 
in the same old way, just as if it was an idle 
dream ! Oh, that God would make us all hear 
and remember, and believe it to-day! 

I. Let me put you in mind, now, that you are 
a poor lost sinner, and this news is for you. 

Perhaps you are a thoughtless sinner. A great 
many people never think about God and reli- 
gion, and a Saviour, at all. Their hearts are full 
of tliis world; they have a thousand little plans 
and pleasures of their own. They live for what 
they can see and taste^ and their hands can 
handle. To-day's work and to-day's dinner — the 
people they meet and talk to — the little accidenta 
that happen, pleasant and unpleasant — the scraps 
of news they hear and tell; such things as these 
take up all their thoughts. Of course they hear 
people talk about religion; they go to church 
sometimes, or perhaps all the time, and listen a 
little, here and there, to the sermon, but no- 
thing sinks down into their hearts. They don 't 
come away from the house of God looking grava 


and solemn, as if what they heard was of any 
consequence. No ! You '11 see them talk, and 
joke, and laugh, right there in the church door, 
or on the steps, or under the trees, just as if 
nothing was the matter; just as if there was 
no such thing as a wicked heart, or an angry 
God, or a crucified Saviour, or a burning world 
of woe! 

Then they go home and sleep away the blessed 
Sunday afternoon, or talk it away, or dance it 
away, never remembering nor caring that it is 
God's holy day. Monday morning finds them 
just the same people, or rather worse. They are 
older and more careless: they are more guilty, 
and they are in greater danger than ever before. 
But they never think of that: they are too busy 
with this life to think of that which is to come. 
And yet that other life will come, whether they 
think about it or not. Silent and steady it 
comes nearer and nearer. Death comes like an 
eagle, that never flaps his wing or gives a scream, 
but fixes his fierce eye on some poor little 
thing, and sweeps out of the sky, and fastens 
his cruel claws in it, and is gone out of sight! 

How foolish it is, then, not to think about our 
souls in time! What would you think, if you 
saw an old wreck drifting about on the sea, 
and the people on it singing, and dancing, and 
drinking, while it was sinking ? Suppose you 
and I saw it going lower and lower every wave — 


the water creeping up — up — up — the side, inch 
by inch, covering one seam after another, pouring 
into every crack, and weighing it down; it 
mounts up faster and faster still, but they keep 
on shouting, and dancing, and reeling about the 
deck ! What v/ould you say ? Wouidn 't you cry 
aloud — "Look out there! you are sinking! clear 
your boat and launch away before it is too 
late !" Just so does God look at us, living so 
careless on the borders of eternal woe ; and he 
calls us loudly — again and again he calls — 
" What meanest thou, sleeper? Arise, call 
upon thy God !" But just as these poor drunk- 
ards on the wreck miglit never heed us or 
mind our warning, but keep right on with the 
dance till, all at once, you hear them scream 
out with a bubbling cry, as the WTCck whirls 
half round and sinks down under the waves — 
so, often, all God's warnings are wasted on 
thoughtless sinners; and they forget them in 
loving this vile world, till the day of wrath 
comes and they are swallowed up for ever. 
Then, oh what wouldn't they give to get back 
into this world where sinners can be saved I 
But it's too late! 

Now, if you are a thoughtless sinner, you 
are just like one of those poor foolish, ruined 
fellows on the wreck; and that makes me call 
to you, to tell you what a danger you're iu 


and to put you in mind tliat you are a poor 
lost sinner. 

Or you may be an anxious sinner: something 
has set you to thinking about your soul. May 
be you have been sick ; day after day has found 
you full of pain and fever ; your strength wasted 
away, and your hands grew thin and weak and 
aching; you could hardly raise your head to 
drink the cool water you wanted so much. The 
doctor looked so gloomy, and your wife sat down 
and wept with grief and weariness — everybody 
seemed to pity you so, that you thought you 
were going to die. Oh what a terrible thought 
that was! Die! leave this world of mercy? Go 
and stand before Almighty God with all your 
sins on you? You had had Sundays, but you 
wasted them; you had heard the gospel, but 
you didn't heed it; the Lord Jesus wanted to 
save you, but you forgot him. Now, you won't 
dare to look in his face ; you will feel so ashamed 
and guilty, if you die as you are, you will be 
struck dumb before God's bar. Oh if you only 
had one Sunday back ! You try to think about 
religion — try to pray and repent; but you are 
so weak, so full of pain, your head feels so 
giddy and confused, that it's no use. Then you 
begin to beg for mercy — beg God to spare 
your life, and you promise him, if he will only 
let you get well, that you will never rest till 
you 're a Christian. And God in his* wonderful 


mercy pitied you, brought back your health and 
strength, and gave you a chance to keep your 

Now that you are well again, it makes you 
shudder to look back and think what a risk 
you ran. You feel how much better God was 
to you than you deserved; and you have made 
up your mind to seek religion busily till you 
find it. You go to prayer-meetings; you come 
to church and try to listen to what the minister 
says; you kneel down and pray, night and 
morning, and you try to keep thinking about 
God, and the Bible, and the Saviour. All this 
time your heart is heavy, and sad, and guilty; 
you feel discouraged and helpless ; sometimes you 
think it is all useless trying to be a Christian 
for God will never hear you. Mind! you mustn't 
believe that — God will hear you if you seek 
him with all your heart. It is the devil and 
your wicked heart trying to deceive you. God 
says, " Him that cometh unto me, I will in no 
wise cast out." Keep on then — never give it 
up! What does the hymn say? 

" I can but perish, if I go : 
I am resolved to try j 
For if I stay awayj I know 
I shall for ever die." 

If you are an anxious sinner, still you are a 
sinner, and if Christ doesn 't save you, you will, 
be a lost sinner. 


Or perhaps it wasn 't sickness that set you 
thinking; maybe it was the death of somebody 
that you loved. Perhaps it was your child that 
grew sick, or met with some accident, and was 
brought home bleeding and dying. Oh, how 
you watched over it — grieved about its suffer- 
ing almost as much as about its dying — you 
tried everything you could think of; you begged 
for advice and for help. When you lay awake 
at night, and heard the dear little child moan- 
ing and crying — tossing on its bed and begging 
for water — your heart broke with trouble. 
You couldn 't give up your child to God : you 
could not say, Thy will be done! And at last, 
when the poor little breast stopped heaving, 
and the little eye that loved you could'nt shine, 
or look again ; when they took it, cold and 
heavy — dead — from your arms, to lay it in the 
grave, you wanted to die and follow it. You 
could 'nt pray ; your heart was too stormy with 
sorrow and anger to look up to God's throne. 
How lonely you felt — and how guilty I 

When the first agony of it was over, so you 
could think again, you thought what an awful, 
what a terrible being, God must be. When he 
saw it w^as right ,to take your child away, 
nothing could turn him; all your crying and 
grieving could not bring one more breath into 
its body. His plan went on, and his will was 
done, just as quick and certain as if you had 


■wanted it. And you remembered that it always 
will he so; if all heaven and earth, and hell, 
should join together against him, they could'nt 
keep back his plan, or cross his will, one minute I 
Then you thought, ''This God is angry with me 
— I am a sinner ! if I die so, I shall be lost I 
What must I do to be saved?" And then you 
tried to seek God, but you did'nt find him. 
You have been trying ever since to be a Chris- 
tian, but peace and pardon are hid out of your 
sight. Now you wonder if you ever will be 
saved; you can't give it up, but you are afraid 
there is very little chance for such a poor sin- 
ner as you. You are an anxious sinner; but 
remember, Jesus Christ came to save sinners ; if 
you get discouraged, and turn back to the world, 
you will be a lost sinner. 

Or it maybe that while everything was going 
on smoothly — no sickness or sorrow to frighten 
you, or call you away from this world, God's 
Holy Spirit came down and woke up your con- 
science, and made you feel ashamed and afraid 
because of sin. How many sins you remember! 
things that you had forgotten for years before 
start up all at once, and condemn you; you try 
to shake them off and forget them again, but 
they stick fast, and come back in crowds, and 
frighten you, looking so evil and terrible. Then 
you try to think up the old excuses that used 
to ease your mind, but they look poor and 


foolish enough now; they don't help yon at all. 
You go out among your friends, and talk and 
laugh as hard as you can, hoping to forget these 
thoughts ; but all the while conscience is knock- 
ing at your heart, and saying. Guilty! guilty! 
guilty! You turn away, feeling heavier than 
ever; you don't want to repent and seek God, 
and yet you can't forget him. "What shall you 
do? As you stand and think about it, maybe 
in the dark night, you look up, and remember 
that tremendous God! He made you — he com- 
manded you to believe on his Son — he offered 
you mercy — he waited on you a long time — 
he is looking at you now, and you are sure he 
is angry with you. You think it will be only 
a little while longer, and then he will stoop 
down with his sword in his hand, and cut you 
off. No wonder you tremble and mourn. 

But after you have resisted the Holy Spirit 
as long as you can, you begin to think you never 
shall have peace again, except in religion, and 
you resolve to be a Christian. But now you 
find it isn 't so easy coming to God. You resolve 
to pray, but your thoughts fly off; your heart 
feels as hard as a rock. Just now, you thought 
God was angry with you; now, you think he 
doesn 't hear you. You find you are a poor, 
helpless creature, unworthy of God's pity, and 
sure to be lost unless he pities you. So 
you weep, and pray, and give it up, aiid try 


again; and yet you are an anxious, unpardoned 

Once more. Perhaps, instead of being a thought- 
less or an anxious sinner, you are a hardened 

"God's Spirit will not always strive 
With hardened, self-destroying man." 

Your anxious days are past and gone. Your 
conscience warned you, but you made excuses, 
and put off thinking about salvation for another 
time. The Lord Jesus invited you, but you 
loved sin too well to mind him. God called 
you, but you turned away to spend a little 
more time with this sinful world. The Holy 
Spirit touched you, but you hardened your heart 
and went on in sin. Now, all those solemn 
feelings are gone; your heart isn't light and 
careless as it once was, but it has no feeling. 
You can hear the most solemn sermons, or 
even verses out of the Bible, and mind it no 
more than the idle wind. When you are sick, 
you feel rather serious about it, but not fright- 
ened, not prayerful, as you were before. Even 
when friends come and talk to you plainly about 
your soul, you can laugh it off, and live right 
on with that same hard, unfeeling heart. You 
are not happy, though ; oh no ! There is a dull 
pain in your spirit that nothing will cure. If 
you get money, it don't comfort you; if your 


home is ever so pleasant, you can't enjoy it; 
your sleep isn't sweet, and your days are weary. 
What is the matter ? What spoils your peace ? 
It is tlie voice of your conscience, that you 
buried in folly and sin, crying out from the 
ground, accusing you, and telling you, Prepare 
to meet thy God I 

But you don't understand that; you haven't 
found out what troubles you so. Nobody else 
thinks you are in trouble; nobody sees into 
your case but God: he knows that you are 
hardening your heart, and preparing to be lost. 
Soon, if you go on so — soon God will grow 
weary of your hardness and impenitent heart, 
and take you away in his wrath. But yet 
there is time, if you would only hear his voice, 
and not harden your heart. If you will not take 
warning, you are a lost sinner. 

Now, let all listen! Let me tell you this 
"faithful saying" once again — Jesus Christ came 
into the world to save sinners. All kinds of 
sinners — thoughtless, anxious, hardened — that 
dear Saviour came to save all. Hear what he 
says: " Whosoever will, let him come;" "and him 
that cometh I will in no wise cast out." ^^ In no 
wise,^^ that is, not at all — for no reason, nor 
for any sin, nor on any account whatever. Not 
one poor sinner ever went to him and was driven 

Have you been careless all your days, merry- 


hearted, impenitent, in spite of all God's warn- 
ings? Death has come, right by your side, 
struck down your friends, and frightened you 
for a day or so; but you have gone back to 
the old heedless ways again. And you think, 
may be, that you can't be such a great sinner, 
for you never meant any harm. 

I had a dear friend once, who was taken very 
sick ; we watched him, and prayed for him, day 
after day ; oh, how anxious and sorrowful we 
were ! But the most pitiful thing of all was, 
that he would never own he was sick. While 
we pitied him, and tried to help him, he con- 
tradicted us and tried to hinder us. Do you 
think that cured him ? Did it make him any 
better to deny that he was sick ? Day after 
day he sunk down until he died. Just so it 
will be with careless sinners; their thinking 
that they are in no danger won't help them. 
God says, "the soul that sinneth, it shall die; 
and the wicked shall be turned into hell, and 
all the nations that forget God." That's jast 
what the careless sinners do — they forget God. 
And oh, if they forget their Saviour, too, what 
good will it do them, if he did come " to save 
sinners ? " 

But remember, you needn't wait to be an 
anxious sinner, before you seek the Lord. It 
isn't being frightened that helps a man, it's 


being in earnest. What a sliame and a folly it 
is for men to waste all their care on such 
a world as this, and plunge into the grave 
with all their sins on them! Listen, poor sin- 
ners! Death and judgment are coming, as sure 
as to-day's sun will set. Eepent, and believe 
on the Lord Jesus Christ; for he came to save 

But above all, the Lord Jesus pities them 
that feel their sin ; he begs the weary and heavy 
laden, the hungry and thirsty — all that are 
heartsick and miserable, he begs them to come 
to him. Many a sinner feels so lonely and 
helpless with his sins, that religion would be like 
cool water to a man dying with thirst; so the 
Lord offers him "living water." What a pity 
men should weep and mourn, grieve and tremble, 
right at the Saviour's feet, just as if he wasn't 
ready to help us! Suppose one of those blind 
men that lived when Jesus Christ was here in 
the world, instead of crying out, as they did, 
"Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me," 
had thrown himself down in the road, weeping 
and groaning, " Oh, I'm blind, I'm blind! I never 
shall see !" till the Lord was gone ; how foolish 
and wicked he would have been ! But that 's 
just the way sinners do; instead of kneeling at 
the Saviour's feet and praying, "Lord, thou didst 
come to save sinners, oh save me !" they weep, 


aud suffer, and fear, without believing, and with- 
out praying, till it's too late. Try him; lift up 
your hands and cry aloud, " Lord, save, or I 
perish!" and he will answer, "Why are ye fear- 
ful, ye of little faith? Be of good cheer, thy 
sins are forgiven thee." 

** Mercy, thou son of David !" 

Thus the blind Bartimeus prayed, 

" Others by thy word are saved, 
Now to me afford thine aid." 

Many for his crying chid him. 
But he called the louder still ; 

Till the gracious Saviour bid him, 
" Come, and ask me what you will." 

Money was not what he wanted, 
Tho' by begging used to live ; 

But he asked, and Jesus granted 
Alms which none but he could give. 

" Lord, remove this grievous blindness, 
Let my eyes behold the day !" 
Straight he saw, and won by kindness, 
Followed Jesus in the way. 

Oh ! methinks, I hear him praising, 
Publishing to all around : 
** Friends, is not my case amazing ? 
"What a Saviour I have found ! 

" Oh ! that all the blind but knew him. 
And would be advised by me ! 
Surely they would hasten to him : 
He would cause them all to see." 




" Who is he, Lord, thai I might believe on himf^ — John ix. 36. 

How I wish every poor sinner would ask 
that question with' all his heart, as that man 
did ! He was a blind man, born blind. As the 
Lord Jesus was passing by, he saw him and 
cured him of his blindness. Such a thing never 
was heard of before, that a man who was 
born blind should be cured; but nothing was 
too hard for the Lord. Then, because this poor 
fellow was so thankful for being cured, and 
wouldn't call that great Saviour a sinner — 
wouldn't despise and hate him as the cruel 
Jews did — they hated him, too, and cast him 
out of their company, and out of the church. 
Lonely and troubled enough he was that day ! 

But there was something he minded more 
than all the neglect of the Jews, that was, his 
sins. No doubt, God's goodness in curing his 
blindness, brought hiui to feel ashamed and sorry 
for his sins ; and then he longed for a Saviour 
more than for earthly friends and comforts. 

So, when the Lord Jesus came back and asked 


him, "Dost tliou believe on the Son of GodV" 
that was the very word he wanted to hear? 
and he cried out, "Who is he. Lord, that I might 
believe on him?" And as soon as the Lord an- 
swered, " It is he who talketh with thee," he 
said, " Lord, I believe," and worshipped him. 

Now, I want to tell you who the Saviour is, 
that you may believe on him, and be saved. I 
want every poor sinner to listen with all his 
heart, and see if Jesus Christ isn't the very 
Friend he needs — just such a kind, and holy, 
and mighty Saviour, as we want. 

I. Who was Christ at the very first? In the 
beginning he was God. When this world was 
made, he was there. He spake those wonderful 
words, "Let there be light" — and there was 
light. He was the Creator: "All things were 
made by him." When you see the sun, or the 
beautiful moon : when the gentle breezes blow, 
or the solemn thunder rolls over your head : 
when the flowers are springing up, or the leaves 
falling off the trees, or the rivers are shining, 
or the clouds flying in the blue sky: whatever 
you see or hear, remember, " My Saviour made 
them all!" 

He watched over the Jews in ancient time, 
and saved them from the cruel king that wanted 
to kill them. He opened a path for them right 
through the sea; piled up the water like stone 
on the right h^nd and on the left, and brought 


tliem throu gl) in safety. Then, when their enemieg 
tried to follow them, he poured back the mighty 
waters, and drowned them in the sea. Forty 
years he went with them and took care of them 
in the wilderness : wherever they went, and 
however wicked they were, there was that pillar 
of cloud every day — tall, and dark, and still ; 
every night, there was the pillar of fire ! When 
they were ready to die because they couldn 't 
find water to drink, he made it spring out of the 
rock like a river ; and because they had no- 
thing to eat, he rained down bread from heaven 
every morning, enough for everybody — not a little 
child was left hungry ! 

And yet the Jews were wicked and disobedient 
continually. They found fault with him, and 
wouldn't believe his word, or bear with his 
will. They despised the bread that came down 
from heaven ; they quarrelled with Moses ; they 
broke the law. But the Lord never forsook 
them for that. Sometimes he had to punish 
them, they were so wicked ; but as soon as they 
repented, he forgave them freely. So he showed 
them, even then, that though he hated their sins, 
he loved poor sinners. 

And so things went on for hundreds of years. 
He brought the Jews into their own country, 
and took care of them — punished them when, 
they sinned, but watched over them all the time, 
and saved them wonderfully, as soon as they 

WHoisjESusr 59 

repented. All this time, too, he was taking care 
of the whole world. Every star in the sky, 
every wind that blows, every drop of rain, every 
soul of man, belongs to him; and he is so miglity, 
and so wise, and so good, that he never forgets 
one. He is never weary of saving, and blessing, 
and loving. In the beginning, our Saviour was 

II. What was he next? A little child! In 
the night when he was born, the angels broke 
out of the darkness, singing songs of joy: ''Glory 
to God in the highest! on earth peace, good 
will toward men ! " Now, he is called the Son 
of God; he had no father but God. And yet 
he didn't come into the world like a king, 
though it is his own world, that he made. His 
mother was poor, and he had no place to lay 
his head, but in a manger. The shepherds that 
heard the angels sing, and the wise men that 
saw his star, followed it, and brought presents 
for him, and found him there, close by the horses 
and cattle. But when they brought him into 
the temple, according to the law, behold, old 
Simeon the prophet took him in his arms, and 
rejoiced over him ; he was ready to die now, 
for he had seen the Saviour, though as yet he 
was but a little child. 

Then the cruel king of the Jews got jealous 
and afraid of the little child — afraid he would 
come to be king some day, and drive him out, 


and he determined to kill him. He sent hia 
soldiers to murder every little babj in Bethle- 
hem, that was under two years old. He did'nt 
spare one of them! — But God took care of his 
Son. Long before the terrible soldiers got there, 
the Lord Jesus and his mother were safe in 
another country. 

And I think this is a very wonderful and 
beautiful thing about our Saviour, that though 
he was the mighty God, yet he became a real 
little child. So he knows by experience just 
how little children feel. He knows just how a 
boy feels when he minds his mother, or when 
he is a good brother, or when he bears disap- 
pointments or pain. As he grew up, he was 
hamble and poor, and worked hard, but he never 
sinned. Though there were so many that hated 
him afterwards, they never could find any wicked 
thing to accuse him of, out of all those long 
years. Spotless and pure, gentle and kind, and 
obedient, he lived as quietly in Nazareth as if 
he was only a man, until he was thirty years 

in. And what next? Jokn the Baptist came 
back from the desert where he was hid, and 
began to preach to the Jews, " Repent." And 
when they repented and confessed their sins, 
he baptized them in the river. Great crowds 
came there, and he warned and rebuked them 
all. But behold, while he was busy with the 


sinners, the Lord Jesus came to him, that never 
sinned ! John felt asliamed to baptize the Sa- 
viour, who was so much greater than he was; 
but the Lord commanded him to do it, and he 
obeyed. Then, as they came up from the water, 
the Holy Spirit came down and rested on the 
Lord's head, and God spake out of heaven, say- 
ing, " This is my beloved Son, in whom I am 
well pleased." 

And so the Saviour went on, living the life 
of a kind and holy man, and doing the wonders 
of a mighty God. He was tempted by the devil, 
but he never sinned. He was mocked and slan- 
dered, and persecuted by the fierce and wicked 
Jews, and he paid them back with wise teach- 
ing, and blessings, and love. He healed them 
when they were sick. Even the vile and horri- 
ble lepers that were forbidden to come near 
anybody, for fear of giving them the leprosy, 
even they came and kneeled down and begged 
him to cure them, and he did it. Worse than 
that, the vilest sinners, that everybody despised, 
and drove away, tasted his love; if they only 
came to him, he would talk so graciously, and 
bless them so freely, that their hard hearts were 
melted, and their sins were forgiven, and they 
were saved. 

All this while he was so brave and noble, 
that no matter how strong and fierce the people 
were that came to him, he would tell them all 



tlieir wickedness, and command them to repent. 
If they grew sorry and gave np tlieir sins, then 
he blessed them, and loved them like a good 
shepherd taking care of his lambs. If they got 
ever so foolish and unfaithful after that, he never 
grew weary of them; he forgave them, and helped 
them all his life. But if they refused and dis- 
obeyed him, and tried to lead the poor people 
into sin, then he exposed them, and taught the 
people not to mind them, but to do right and 
fear God, and he would save them. Oh, how he 
encouraged them, and cheered them on to be 
brave and good! He said: "Fear not them who 
kill the body, and have no more that they can do : 
fear Him, who can cast both soul and body into 
hell ; yea, I say unto you, fear him ! " 

And he did just as he said ; though they tried 
to kill him, and took up stones to stone him, 
he never took back a word, or feared the face 
of man. And he never got bitter and passionate 
like them; he could turn round, after facing all 
their rage, and stretch out his hand to some 
poor sinner, and forgive and heal him. 

But the more glorious he was, the more the 
rulers and great men hated him. If the poor 
people hadn't loved and admired him so, they 
would have torn him in pieces. But what could 
they do? If they followed him by hundreds 
and thousands into the desert, without bread to 
eat he took some little loaves and fishes, and 


fed them all. If they listened to him, he taught 
them so wisely and beautifully that they couhiirt 
find fault, even though they didn't believe wliat 
he said. He gave back eyes to the blind, and 
made the lame walk, and raised the very dead 
out of their graves ! Wicked as they were, they 
had to wonder at him, and to confess that " He 
did all things well." When he calmed the raging 
sea, and stopped the mighty winds, and drove the 
devils out of men, with a word, no wonder they 
trembled and were afraid! 

But they grew more and more mad with rage 
against him; they envied him, because, though he 
was a poor man, he was so famous, and the poor 
and troubled loved him so well. " Don't you see," 
they said to one another, " don't you see the whole 
world is gone after him ? " They couldn 't forgive 
him for being so good, and they banded together 
to take his life. 

lY. And now his last days were coming very 
near. He had preached all over the country, and 
chosen his disciples, and given all the Jews a 
chance to believe on him. Now it was all over, 
and he was ready to lay down his life for his peo- 
ple, and for the sins of the whole world. 

He called the Apostles together and taught 
them to eat the Lord's Supper in remembrance of 
him, so that the broken bread and the wine poured 
out, would put them in mind how his body was 
broken on the cross, and his blood shed, for us. 


Then he took the three that he trusted the most — 
Peter, James and John — and went into a garden 
where he loved to pray. He left them in the outer 
part of the garden, and went in among the trees, 
to pray once more before he died ; and oh, what an 
agony came on him ! Some terrible thing he was 
afraid of, though he wasn 't afraid to die : and he 
prayed, over and over again, that his Father would 
take away that cup from him, if it was possible. 
He plead so hard, that great drops of blood came 
on his forehead and fell on the ground : and yet he 
said, " Father, not my will, but thine be done." 
At last, the angels of God came down and strength- 
ened him. 

Then came Judas, one of his twelve chosen 
friends, with a crowd of Jews and soldiers, to 
seize on him and carry him away. They dragged 
him first to one judge and then to another and 
another: and though the last judge tried a little 
to save his life, it was all in vain. The people 
were crazy with passion; they shouted, "Crucify 
him ! crucify him ! " until they got him condemned. 
Then they bound our dear Saviour and beat him ; 
they mocked him with a rich dress and a crown of 
thorns ; they spit on him, all bleeding and weary 
as he was ; and when they were tired of their cruel 
sport, they put the heavy beams of timber on his 
shoulder that were to be his own cross, and tliey 
made him carry them till he fell down fainting 
under the load. 


What a siglit that wasl Far off down the 
street the Apostles were looking on, afraid to 
stand bj their Lord or help him. Close by were 
the women that loved him so faithfully — Mary 
his mother, Mary the mother of James and 
Joses; Mary Magdalene, Joanna and Salome. 
They were weeping and sobbing — their hearts 
were breaking with sorrow to see him treated 
so. Then the Lord Jesus, that bore all the 
cruelty without one word, patient as a lamb, 
spoke to them, and told them not to weep for 
him. Even then he was thinking about their 
troubles that were coming, and not about his 
own. At last the soldiers found a man named 
Simon, and they made him carry the cross to 

There they nailed his hands and his feet to 
the cross; they could wring his heart with 
agony, but they couldn't stop his pity. He only 
said — "Father, forgive them! They know not 
what they are doing." In the hot sun, dying with 
thirst, and fever, and pain, he said not one un- 
kind word. He Was dying for sinners; that was 
his comfort. He gave his mother to John the 
Apostle to take care of. Then he said, " I thirst," 
and they gave him vinegar to drink, while the 
Jews mocked him again and again. 

But oh, the worst was to come — he was to 
die like a sinner, though he v/as so perfectly 
holy ; and God, his Father, hid his face from 
him. Then his strong heart broke at last, and 


he cried aloud, " Mj God! my God! why hast 
thou forsaken me?" Three hours that awful 
agony went on, and then he cried out again, " It 
is finished," and he died. The sun was hid, and 
the rocks burst open, and the dead came out of 
their graves. 

To make sure that he was dead, a soldier 
took his spear and ran it into the Lord's side, 
and the blood and water poured out. So his 
body was broken and his blood shed, just as he 
said. He who had loved us all his life, died 
that cruel death for us. What a horrible thing 
must sin be, when God's own Son had to die, 
before he could save us ! But now he has died, 
he can forgive sin : '' his blood cleanseth from 
all sin." Will you trust him? If he wants to 
save you, will you let him do it? Say, poor 
sinner, " dost thou believe on the Son of God ? " 

Isn't he the very Saviour we need? Isn't 
he mighty enough? He is God. And meek 
enough? He was a little child. And his love 
great enough? He refused not to die for us. 
And his ransom rich enough? The blood of the 
Son of God ! Oh believe on him and be saved I 




For I delivered unto you first of all, that which I also re- 
ceived, how that Christ died for our sins according to the 
Scriptures ; and that he was buried, and that he rose the 
third day, according to the Scriptures. — 1 Cor. xv. 3, 4. 

So then, after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received 
up into heaven, and sat down on the right hand of God. — 
Mark xvi. 19. 

To-DAT I must tell jou the story of the resur- 
rection; that is, I must tell you how the Lord 
Jesus rose from the dead. He always said he 
would rise again after he was crucified; the dis- 
ciples used to wonder what that " rising from the 
dead " could mean ; and they never understood it 
till it was done. 

Then they remembered the words he had spoken 
about it, and believed on him, that he was the Son 
of God, the Saviour of the world. Dying for us 
wasn't enough to save us ; he had to take away the 
sting of death, and break through the grave, and 
go up to heaven; and then his work of atonement 
was finished. 

But you must remember that he was really deaa. 


He was worn out with pain and persecution before 
the J nailed his hands and feet to the cross : and 
then he was kept there in agony for six long hours, 
till he died. And to make sure work with him, 
they pierced his side with a spear, and those that 
stood by saw the water and the blood pour out, 
which showed that he was dead indeed. There 
was no chance for any mistake, or for anybody to 
deceive the rest. If anything is plain, and certain, 
and true, it is that the Lord Jesus Christ died for 
our sins, according to the Scriptures 

Now the Lord Jesus had a rich friend named 
Joseph; and Joseph had a garden close by Calvary, 
where the cross was; and in this garden he had 
dug a large tomb out of the solid rock; large 
enough for himself and all his family. Though 
Joseph had never been very bold to follow the 
Lord and confess him before men, while he was 
alive, yet now he was gone, he went right to Pilate 
the governor, and begged for the dead body of 
Jesus. Pilate wondered to hear he was dead so 
soon, for often people lived a day or two on the 
cross : he didn't know yet about their piercing him 
with the spear ; but he sent and asked the captain 
if he was already dead. And when he found it 
was so, he gave Joseph the Saviour's body. 

Then those faithful friends that had stayed by 
him to the last when almost everybody was 
frightened away, climbed up and loosened those 
poor, torn hands and feet from the spikes, and 


took down the "broken body" gently from the 
cross. They wrapped a linen cloth round it, and 
wound up spices with it, and put another cloth 
round his head: that was the Jews' way of 
burying; and then they laid it in the tomb that 
Joseph had made for himself. Nobody had ever 
been put there before ; the Lord's grave received 
him, and they rolled a great stone to the door, 
so that it would be safe till after the Sabbath. 

But though his friends didn't think about his 
rising from the grave, his enemies remembered 
it. They put Pilate in mind, and warned him 
that his disciples might come and steal the body, 
and say he had risen : so he gave them a guard 
of soldiers, and let them seal up the stone, so 
that if it was moved at all, they would know 
it. Then the foolish, wicked Jews thought they 
were safe; they had tried him, and killed him, 
and fastened up his tomb! But God says the 
wrath of man shall praise him, and so it did 
very soon. 

All this I have been telling you happened 
on Friday; then came Saturday, the Jews' Sab- 
bath; all was quiet that day. Sunday morning, 
as soon as the day began to break, those same 
women who had been true to him when his 
chosen followers forsook him and fled, Mary the 
mother of Joses, Mary Magdalene, and Salome, 
came out to the tomb to put stronger and 
sweeter spices round the body, that it mightn'^ 


decay; for they hadn't time to finish it on 
Friday. As they were going along, all at once 
they remembered that great stone at the door; 
how could they get it rolled away? They didn't 
like to turn back to call the disciples; I sup- 
pose they were afraid the Jews would notice it, 
and stop them; so they went on, hoping, per- 
haps, that the soldiers would help them: for these 
poor heathen soldiers didn't hate the Lord Jesus 
as his own people did. 

At any rate, they went on; and behold, there 
were no soldiers there, and no stone at the door! 
As soon as Mary Magdalene saw that, she turned 
and ran back to where John lived in his own house, 
and Peter with him, saying, " They have taken 
away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we 
know not where they have laid him!" She never 
thought of anything but that; his enemies had 
done some new wickedness and cruelty. They 
ran out to the sepulchre — John ran first, then 
Peter, then Mary. But before they got there, the 
other women stooped and looked into the tomb, 
but the body wasn't there. Suddenly they saw 
the two angels that had been sitting there all 
the time, one in the tomb, and one on the great 
stone that was rolled away from the door. The 
angels said : " Why seek ye the living among the 
dead ? he is not here ; he is risen, as he told 

As they ran back to tell this wonderful news 


to the disciples, in the room where tliej used 
to meet, behold Jesus himself met them, and 
said, "All hail!" If their hearts were full of 
" fear and great joy" before, how they must have 
rejoiced and trembled now! No wonder they 
fell down at his feet and worshipped him ! 
Then he sent them with a message to his disci- 
ples; and what do you think he called them, 
those unworthy and fearful men, who forsook him 
in trouble, and left him to his enemies? Breth- 
ren! "Go, tell my brethren that they go into 
Galilee, and there shall they see me." Some 
were to see him before then; but all were to 
meet him on a certain mountain there. 

The women went and carried his message, 
but nobody believed them yet. While they were 
gone, John and Peter, and Mary, came to the 
tomb. John got there first ; and when he saw 
the door open, he stood still, amazed and won- 
dering. So Peter ran by him and went in, and 
John followed him. There were the clothes, not 
torn off and thrown down, as if there was any 
confusion or hurry, but carefully folded up — 
the large ones by themselves, and the napkin, 
which was round his head, by itself. Peter only 
wondered at it all; but John began to guess 
the truth, and to believe that Christ was risen 
from the dead. So. they went back home, full 
of their own thoughts, and never remembering 
poor Mary that was weeping by the grave. 


Ah, they might forget her, but the dear Lord 
didii 't forget ! He let them go back in their 
wonder and unbelief, and he came to comfort 
Mary in her sorrow. Just like him ! To pity 
the broken in heart and bind up their wounds, 
is his own work. First, the angels showed them- 
selves to her, and asked, "Why weepest thou?" 
She was too much grieved to be frightened; she 
answered : " Because they have taken away my 
Lord, and I know not where they have laid him." 
Before she could speak again, she heard some 
one walking behind her; she turned round and 
looked, but she didn't see who it was. — Even 
when he asked her, " Woman, why weepest thou? 
whom seekest thou? "she didn't know him — she 
thought it was the gardener ! "Sir," she said, "if 
thou hast borne him hence, tell me where thou hast 
laid him, and I will take him away." — Once more 
he spoke: — "Mary!" Ah, she knows him now. 
"My master!" And in her fear that he would 
vanish again, and she should lose him, she ran 
to fold his feet in her arms. But he told her 
she need not be afraid: his time to go up into 
heaven wasn't come. "Touch me not, for I am 
not yet ascended to my Father ; but go to my 
brethren, and say to them, I ascend unto my 
Father, and your Father ; to my God, and your 
God." — That was to encourage them; to let 
them see that he didn 't despise and disown 
them, for all their unfaithfulness. 

A Ft I S E N S A V I U R. 73 

So Mary Magdalene went back, carrying the 
^me message with the other women ; and " they 
told these things to the Apostles. But their words 
seemed unto them as idle tales, and they believed 
them not." 

Two of the disciples went out that same day to 
a place some seven or eight miles off, called Em- 
maus. He joined them on the road, and they 
didn 't know him at first ; but when they sat down 
at supper, and he blessed it for them, just as he 
always did before he died, they knew him; but 
he vanished away out of their sight. They started 
up and went back to Jerusalem on foot as they 
came; but before they got there he showed himself 
to Simon. While they were talking about it, he 
stood there, right among them, and said : " Peace 
be with you!" And when they believed not yet 
for joy, that it was really the Lord Jesus, he did 
eat and drink, and let them take his hands in their 
hands, and make sure that it was no spirit, but 
their own dear Lord. 

All the Apostles were there, this time, except 
Thomas, and he would not believe on their word ; 
he must see for himself. He said: "Except I put 
my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my 
hand into his side, I will not believe." But the 
next Sunday night Christ appeared again, and said 
to Thomas : " Reach hither thy finger, and beliold 
my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust 
it into my side, and be not faithless, but believing." 


Wlien Thomas saw how the Lord knew every word 
he said, he didn't wait to feel the print of the 
nails; he cried out : " My Lord and my God ! " 

Then the Apostles went away to Galilee, as he 
told them ; and no doubt they carried his message 
to all the believers in that country, to meet him at 
a certain mountain such a day. One night, while 
they were waiting for him, they went fishing in the 
lake, just as they used to before they ever saw 
him — just as they were doing when he first called 
Peter and Andrew, James and John. All that 
night they worked with their nets and caught no- 
thing — just like the other time. In the morning 
he was on the shore — but they didn't know who 
he was — and told them again: " Cast on the right 
side of the boat, and ye shall find." They did so, 
and then they couldn 't draw up the net for the 
multitude of the fishes! That was enough for 
John and Peter ; John cried out : " It is the Lord ! " 
and Peter plunged into the sea and swam to his 
Master's feet. 

Now the reason for the Lord's coming there that 
morning, was to put Peter back among the Apos- 
tles. You know that he was the man who denied 
his Lord three times — cursed, and swore he didn't 
know him ! Of course, if the thing had been left 
so, whenever trouble rose among the Apostles, 
they might have turned on poor, guilty Peter, and 
said : " You have no business here ; you denied the 
Lord." So the Lord Jesus said to him ; ^' Simon, 


son of Jonas, lovest thou me ? " He answered : 
''Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee." 
Jesus said: "Feed my lambs." This he did three 
times, just as Peter denied him three times ; and 
then he said: "Follow me.'' That was to be 
Peter's business all his life. And he did follow 
him, and died on a cross at last just as his Lord 
and Master did. 

Then they went to this mountain in Galilee, 
where more than five hundred people were gathered 
together, waiting to see him. Nearly all of them 
believed on him, but some were too hard-hearted 
and unbelieving ; they wouldn 't acknowledge him 
even when they saw him ! And he gave the Apos- 
tles their charge before all the people — told them 
to go into all the world and preach the gospel to 
every creature, and he would be with them to the 
end. So then all the believers saw that these 
eleven Apostles were to be their teachers and 
rulers in the church, and that all were to honour 
and help them. Then he told the Apostles to go 
back to Jerusalem, and he rose up and vanished 
out of their sight again. 

Once more he met them in Jerusalem. He led 
them out of the city, over the same ground where 
they had gone together so often. There was the 
garden of Gethsemane, where he prayed, and sweat 
great drops of blood — where Judas kissed him and 
betrayed him — where the soldiers seized him, and 
bound him, and led him away to die. There was 


the Mount of Olives, where he wept over the lost 
and wicked city, and where he told them the signs 
of his coming, and of the end of the world. Xo 
doubt they remembered it all ; now it was all over, 
and they should never see him in this world again ! 
He led them out as far as Bethany, where Mary 
and Martha lived, and Lazarus, that he raised from 
the dead. There he stretched out his hand and 
blessed them ; and he rose up from among them, 
and a bright cloud swept down from heaven and 
received him out of their sight. And while their 
dear Friend and Master was soaring away from 
them, and they stood looking up after him, two 
angels stood by them and said, "Ye men of 
Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? 
This same Jesus, who is taken up from you into 
heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have 
seen him go into heaven." That was the end of 
his strange and hard and painful life in this world. 
He was born, was a child — a boy — a man; 
preached the gospel, cast out devils, raised the 
dead; was despised of men — was crucified, dead, 
and buried. The third day he rose again, and 
after forty days he ascended to his Father, and our 
Father, to his God and our God. 

Now I have three very short and simple things 
to say about it, and then I will be done. 

1. You see, the Lord Jesus Christ is not dead 
novj. " He was dead, and is alive again." No 
coffin or grave holds him; "he ever liveth." We 


can pray to liim, and trust him, and go to him, as 
a living friend. He sees and hears and loves us, 
just as he did before he died on the cross. 

2. He hasnH left us and broken off with us^ hy 
ascending into heaven. "He ever liv^eth to make 
intercession for us ;'^ that means, to pray for us. 
When we sin against God, and repent, and ask 
him to forgive us, our Saviour takes it up; shows 
his wounded side and says, " Father, forgive 
them ! " And the Bible tells us that the Father 
heareth him always; when he prays for us, God 
forgives us. 

3. He is coming back to this world, but not to 
.be a Saviour again; that is all done and finished, 
for ever. Not to be a Saviour again; to be our 
judge. Every eye shall see him, even they that 
pierced him; and the people of this world shall 
mourn because of him. All the dead shall be 
raised, and ihh Lord will come in terrible glory 
and might, and all the holy angels with him. The 
evil world shall take fire and burn up ; the heavens 
shall roll ayay with a great noise. The wicked 
*' shall go away into everlasting punishment, but 
the righteous into life eternal." Oh dying sinners, 
prepare — prepare to meet your God! 




ieve on the Lord Jesus Ch 
be saved. — Acts xvi. 31. 

You know, now, who the Lord Jesus Christ is, 
and what he has done for us. He is the Mighty 
God, living and reigning for ever ; he was a weak 
and dying man, who went about doing good and 
preaching the gospel, and at last laid down his life 
for us ; now he is risen from the dead and gone to 
heaven, to his Father's right hand ; there he hears 
poor sinners when they cry, and saves all who 
come unto him. That was the Lord's work, and he 
did it so well, and he was such a glorious Saviour 
himself, that if you didn 't know anything about it, 
only what he was and what he did, you would 
surely say: "All the world must be saved. How 
can anybody be lost, with such a kind and mighty 

But, alas, we know better; we know a great 
many sinners harden their hearts against the great 
God and his Son Jesus Christ; they live in sin, 
and they die in despair. They know, and we 
know, that they are gone to meet a just and angry 


judge; that their wickedness has turned the very 
Lord that loved them into a terrible enemy, and 
that he will drive them out into darkness, where 
there is weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of 
teeth ! Many sinners perish so, but not all. We 
see some try to serve the Lord while they live, and 
die in peace when they come to die. They are 
glad to die ! They feel that heaven is their home, 
and they long to be there. They can sing as 
they die : 

•* I'm fettered and chained up in clay, 

I struggle and pant to be free, 
I long to be soaring away, 

My God and my Saviour to see ! 
'* I want to put on my attire, 

Washed white in the blood of the Lamb ; 
I want to be one of your choir, 

And tune my sweet harp to his name. 

" I want, oh, I want to be there. 

Where sorrow and sin bid adieu ; 
Your joy and your friendship to share ; 

To wonder and worship with you!" 

Now, what makes the difference between those 
that are saved and those that are lost ? Why does 
the Lord save some sinners, and leave some to 
perish? Just this: some believe on him, and some 
won't. He invites us all; the text says: "Believe 
on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shall he saved.'^ 
And he keeps his word ; all who trust him are safe, 
and all who are too proud and too ungrateful to 
trust him, are lost. 

And to-day I want to talk to you about this 


faitli ; this believing on a Saviour. I want to tell 
you what it is, and persuade you all to take him 
for your Saviour. 

I. First of all, let us see what the Lord Jesus 
has offered to do for you. 

The text says : " Believe on the Lord Jesus 
Christ, and thou shalt be saved^ What does he 
mean by being "saved?" Let me put you in 
mind, now, that sinners are lost in two ways: 
they are lost, because they are condemned and 
punished ; and they are lost, because they are 
so wicked and miserable. — Every sinner, you 
know, has broken God's holy law, and God says : 
"The soul that sinneth, it shall die." He has 
prepared a world of everlasting fire, for those 
who hate him ; and he will drive every wicked 
man and woman into that awful place. He must 
punish the wicked ; if he didn 't hate sin, who 
could call him just and holy? Where would be 
his glory ? Just as long as God is good and holy 
himself, he must love his glorious law, and punish 
all that break it. 

Now, the Lord Jesus, being God as well as 
man, came into the world to take our place : 
he " bore our sins in his own body on the 
tree;" i. e., the cross. So as he took our punish- 
ment on himself, God could forgive us without 
giving up his law, his glory, or his holiness. 
When one of us who believes on Jesus dies and 
goes to God's bar to be judged, and his sins 


are read out against him, his Saviour says: ''I 
took his place : I bore his punishment ; he is 
mine, and I forgive all his sins." Then the door 
of hell is barred up again, and the gate of hea- 
ven flies open to let him in, and he dwells with 
his Lord for ever. That is one way he saves 

But that would do us very little good, if that 
was all. The sinner's greatest misery is being a 
sinner; having a hard, unthankful, evil heart; 
being full of low and wicked passions; being 
ready for any temptation, and having no care 
about anything good. In the course of this life 
he does so many wicked things, and has so 
many bad feelings that his whole heart is filthy, 
selfish, miserable. How would a poor, ragged 
prisoner, just out of the jail, feel, if he was 
brought into a room full of happy girls and 
boys? And a thousand times worse would the 
sinner feel, if he could go into heaven, among 
the pure angels, with his vile and sinful heart. 
Ah, there would be no heaven for him any 
where! An evil conscience, and greedy passions, 
wicked habits, and an angry G-od, would torment 
him, if God never raised a hand against him, 
or tried to punish him. Just leaving him in his 
sins, would be leaving him in endless woe ! 

And that 's the reason why our blessed Saviour 
promised us the Holy Spirit ; so that vile hearts 
might be changed, and love and goodness might 

82 P L A X T A T I :>: SERMONS. 

be there instead of sins. He offers to make 
us " new creatures," so that what the sinner 
loves now and sins about, shall never be loved 
again; and what he forgets now — his God and 
Saviour — he shall love with his whole soul. 
He offers to take away our pride, to cure us of 
evil passions, to fill our hearts with every lovely 
and happy feeling. He offers us pardon for our 
sins, joy instead of shame and grief, goodness 
instead of wickedness, endless life instead of 
everlasting fire. 

II. The only trouble about explaining faith to 
you, is that men will think that it is some 
strange, great, and impossible thing; as if believ- 
ing on the Lord Jesus wasn't like believing in 
your friends, or your father or mother. Now, 
you must try to put that foolish notion out of 
your minds, and learn how to believe on your 
Saviour, by thinking how you trust everybody 
that is kind, and wise, and holy. Remember, you 
are a lost sinner, and Christ offers to save you 
if you will just believe on him. What does he 
mean by that ? 

Suppose you were taken sick with one of 
those terrible diseases that often carry people 
to their graves in a few hours; you are very 
much frightened ; the agony of your mind is 
more dreadful than the pain of your body. You 
wring your hands, and cry, '' Mercy ! mercy ! help! 
help! Oh, I shall die! I know I'll die!" You 


won't listen to anybody, or follow anybody's 
advice; you are wearing yourself out with fright 
and horror, as much as with sickness. Now sup- 
pose a kind and skilful doctor comes to you ; 
he feels your pulse, and then he speaks to you. 
If you trust him at all, you will stop those 
cries and listen to every word he says, as if 
your life depended on it. Presently he says, "1 
can cure you : I am certain of it : but then you 
must do just as I tell you. Will you promise 
me that?" Here again, if you believe in his 
skill at all, you will promise him at once ; if 
you don 't trust him, you will go back to your ter- 
ror, crying, " Oh, it's too late ! I'll die, I'll die! '* 
But suppose you trust him, and promise to do as 
he tells you. Then he says : " The first thing 
for you to do, is to trust me with the whole 
matter ; you must keep perfectly calm and quiet ; 
don 't get frightened ; don 't begin to cry out 
again; just rely on me, and I will save you." 
Now, if you do really trust him, you commit the 
whole case to him; if your fears begin to rise 
again, you look at him, and you say to yourself: 
*' He is able to save me, and he promises to 
do it." That is faith. 

Or suppose the ship in which you were sail- 
ing was lost at sea, and you were left alone in 
a little boat, far out of sight and hope of land. 
The clouds gather in the sky, and the wind 
blows in those short fierce gusts that come before 


a gale ; the waves begin to toss all around ^you, 
and your poor little boat takes in water. You 
give yourself up for lost ; you only keep on toil- 
ing in rowing, because you can't bear to sit still 
and die ! But behold, here comes a swift and 
mighty ship; they see you, and bear down to 
you ; they throw you a rope, and tell you, " Never 
mind your boat ! Come aboard, and we'll take 
care of you." And suppose that when they saw 
you couldn 't manage it yourself, the captain 
should spring into your boat, risking his life to 
save yours, wouldn' t you trust it all to him ; do 
just as he told you, however dangerous it looked, 
and feel sure that he would save you ? That, 
again, would be faith. 

And on the other hand, how foolish it would be 
in you, to go on pulling desperately at your oars, 
paying no attention at all to the ship, or to the 
captain's call, or even the rope they threw over 
your boat ; just working madly and blindly to save 
yourself, you didn't know how! That would be 
unbelief; it would be destroying yourself just 'be- 
cause you wouldn't rely on those who ought to be 

Now, the sinner is just like the sick man, or the 
man in the boat ; and the Saviour is like the good 
doctor or the captain of the ship. The only differ- 
ence is this : that he can 't possibly fail or be 
mistaken. The doctor's medicine might disappoint 
him; the captain's ship might be wrecked itself; 


hur the Lord Jesus always saves those that come to 
him. He tells you plainly that he has power on 
earth to forgive sins, and to send the Comforter, 
who is the Holy Spirit, to give you a new heart j 
that is, he is ready to undertake the whole case; to 
save you from hell, and to cure you of wickedness, 
if you will only leave it to him. Will you? Will 
you trust the Lord who is mighty to save ? Just 
follow his counsel, and trust in his promise, and 
give yourself to him as you are ! If you do, that 
will be faith. 

A great many sinners, when they begin to think 
about their sins and their danger, just get fright- 
ened, and stay so. They say to themselves : " I'm 
a lost sinner! I'm too wicked to be saved! I 
must die in my sins ! " If you talk to them about 
the Lord Jesus, they answer : " Oh yes, I know he's 
a great Saviour ; but I'm too wicked to be saved." 
They are like the sick man, raving with fright 
instead of listening to the doctor. That is un- 
belief. _ ^ .^ 

Other sinners go to work to get better; they are 
too wicked to be saved now, but if they.^to^ 
swearing and drinking, and |)ray every day, and go 
to church steadily, and hav^ f. great\many religious 
thoughts; then, maybe, the Lord can save^hem. 
Just as if Christ wasn't mighty enoiigh to save 
them, unless they helped him! So, instead of 
taking his advice, and " coming]^ to him " right off^ 
they work away, trying to make themselves good 


first, that he may save them afterwards. They are 
just like that poor fellow in the boat — rowing so 
hard, when rowing can 't help him, instead of drop- 
ping his oars and catching the rope. That is un- 
belief, too. 

The only wise way is this : listen to what the 
Lord says. He understands the whole matter, and 
what he says is true. If he says: "I am able to 
save to the uttermost all who come to me," you 
must answer: ''Yes, Lord! thou canst save even 
me, and 1 come to thee according to thy word.'^ 
When he says: "It is I, be not afraid;" you must 
cry, like Thomas: "My Lord and my God! I 
commit my soul to thee ; wash me from my sins in 
thy blood, and make me a new creature ! " And 
you must take it for certain that he hears you and 
helps you, just because he said he would. Like the 
sick man, driving away his fears by looking at the 
doctor, before he feels that he is cured; so you 
must "look unto Jesus," and calm your mind with 
his word of promise, " Him that cometh unto me I 
will in no wise cast out." That is faith. You 
don 't hope and rejoice because you are so good, or . 
because you can do so much for yourself, or be- 
cause you feel so badly about your sins, but just 
because an almighty Saviour has promised to save 
all those who put their trust in him. Isn't that 
plain ? 

Now, I know what you will answer to this: You 
will say: " I canH drive away my fears whenever I 


please; I canH believe on the Lord, and be calm 
and happy." Oh what a wicked, suspicious, un- 
grateful heart you must have ! a heart that can 't 

trust THE SON OF GoD ! 

But your Saviour has provided even for that ; he 
promises the Holy Spirit to them that ask him, on 
purpose to give them faith; and the more helpless 
and unbelieving and wicked you feel, so much the 
louder and more earnestly you ought to cry to God 
to send the Holy Spirit and take away the stony 
heart out of you, and give you a tender, pure, 
believing heart. 

What excuse can you make now for not believing 
on the Lord Jesus Christ ? If you say you are too 
great a sinner to be saved, he tells you: *'A11 
manner of sins shall be forgiven to men." And 
Paul declares that the Lord had mercy on him for 
a " pattern of long suffering;" that is, to show how 
much patience and love he has for us — enough to 
save the chief of sinners. If you say you must be 
better before you can dare to come, the Bible 
answers: ^^ J^ot by works of righteousness which 
we have done, but according to his mercy hath he 
saved us;" and " his mercy is everlasting." If you 
say you can't believe on him, he puts you in mind: 
" How much more will your Heavenly Father giYQ 
the Holy Spirit to them that ask him ! " 

When you see yourself so miserable and guilty, 
and helpless, and the Lord so patient, and gra- 
cious, and mighty, how can you stay away ? How 


can you refuse him your heart — forget him, or 
be suspicious of him? Look at him! His fore- 
head is marked with the thorns ; his hands are 
torn with the nails; his side is pierced with 
the spear — he died for you! He sits on a 
throne of glory, ready to plead for you ! Now 
is the day of salvation : harden not your heart I 
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt 



SERMON yil. 


"Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto 
thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom 
of G^od."— John iii. 3. 

God earnestly invites sinners to come and be 
saved, in the Bible. He says, "I have no plea- 
sure in the death of him that dieth, but rather 
that he should turn and live." "Come unto me 
all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I 
will give you rest." "Him that cometh unto me 
I will in no wise cast out." All through the 
Bible he pleads with us not to die in our 
sins and be lost for ever, but to let him save us 
as he wants to. But then, he tells us plainly 
that he knows we wonH mind him; that if he only 
asks us and commands us to be so,ved, we will 
surely be lost. We will go on hardening our 
hearts and forgetting our God, until he has to 
cut us off and cast us down into the pit. " My 
people will not consider," he says. "There is 
none that doeth good, no, not one : destruction 
and misery are in their ways." " I go my way, 


and ye shall seek me, and die in your sins." — 
" There is none that seeketh after God." 

The God who knows all things, and who sees 
as plainly the thoughts of our heart, as he sees 
the stars in the sky, knows that men never seek 
him of their own accord. And so, when he in- 
vites us to repent and believe, he puts us in mind 
that there is something to he done that we canH do, 
" No man can come unto me except my Father 
draw him." More than that ; he says it is some- 
thing great that has to be done: something so 
wonderful and mighty that nobody can do it but 
God. Only he who gives us our lives, and raises 
dead men out of their graves — only he can 
change a sinner's heart. "Except a man be born 
of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into 
the kingdom of God." " Ye must be born again." 

Now there is something very terrible about 
this. God condemns us for our sins, and our 
own hearts condemn us, too. God provides a 
great salvation for us, and invites us to take it; 
and yet poor, wicked man can't take it! He 
can look at it, and wish he was safe, and trem- 
ble and mourn because of his danger; but he 
can 't stretch out his hand and be saved ! And 
I think we had better try and understand the 
case, and see if it is really so, and find out how 
we can be saved. 

I. What does the Bible mean by "being born 


It means, first, that sinners, with their natural 
hearts, are just as unfit to serve God, as the child, 
before it is horn, is fit to toil and sufifer among 
men. I don't mean to say that sinners feel that, 
or even believe it; but I say it is so, whether 
they believe it or not. And if any man wants to 
deny it, let him try to serve God as he ought to ; 
the harder he tries, the sooner he will find out that 
without the Lord's help he can do nothing. 

It means that these hearts of ours are not the 
right kind of hearts for that kind of work. They 
are very well suited to some things, such as hating, 
envying, loving money, and pleasure, and our own 
way ; they are excellent places to store away bad 
thoughts and wicked feelings ; ready enough to in- 
dulge bad passions, or to learn bad habits, or to 
love bad company. If anybody wants a proud heart 
or a selfish heart; an impure or a revengeful heart; 
a sullen, a cunning, or an obstinate heart, here is 
the world for him! Everything that is foolish, un- 
grateful, disobedient, and unbelieving, grows up in 
our hearts like weeds in rich ground. 

But if he wants a heart that can love and trust 
the Almighty Lord; a heart to praise him and 
serve the Lord Jesus Christ ; a heart set free from 
sin; a heart to believe the Bible, and repent, 
and pray ; a heart to hope for heaven and be tired 
of an evil world ; he will have to pray for tlie Holy 
Spirit. We never have those hearts till God gives 
them to us. What a difference it makes in a man 


'when he gets such a heart as this ! What he used 
to hate he loves now; what he cared about he gives 
up now; what he was afraid of once, can't frighten 
him now Sin don't tempt him as it used to; the 
name of the Lord Jesus is very sweet to him ; heaven 
is his home; the grave has no more victory, and 
death has lost his sting. He is so different from 
what he was, that we call him a " new creatui-e;" 
something is altered in him, that changes his whole 
life. This is the second great thing that the Bible 
means, when it says that we must be born again. 
The first, you know, is, that our natural hearts are 
entirely unfit to serve God ; the second is, that God 
can give us the right kind of hearts. 

No doubt it means a great deal more besides 
this. It means that Christians begin young ; even 
though they grew old before they were converted, 
they can't carry any wisdom into religion; they 
have to learn it all after they begin. At first they 
are weak and ignorant; they are easily tempted, 
and they make a great many mistakes; but they 
grow stronger and wiser as they go on. So, when 
we are converted, we become as little children. 
But the two things 1 mentioned just now are the 
great things. They are what I want to talk about 
at this time. 

II. Can we see anything to prove this doctrine. 
Ourselves ? 

I think we can. I think if tlie Bible didn't say 
anything about it, we should have to believe that 


sinners are not fit for religion, and that Christians 
have had help from somewhere. Just look at the 
difference between them. 

Wouldn't it look very strange to you if impeni- 
tent people generally should begin to hold prayer 
meetings, to praise and worship God, and tell about 
the Saviour? If they were to come together, and 
form a church, and sit down at the Lord's table ? 
If they were to carry Bibles in their pockets, and 
slip off from business and pleasure to read them ? 
If they were to come and see you on purpose to 
talk about your soul and pray with you ? 

And wouldn't it be just as strange if Christians 
were to give up these things, and look to dances, 
and horse-races, and cock-fights instead ? Suppose 
the church members, where you live, were to re- 
solve, some Sunday morning, that it wasn 't worth 
•while to worship God any longer, or to respect 
the Sabbath; and that they had better sell 
their church for a store ; wouldn 't you be aston- 
ished ? And yet no doubt you have heard some of 
the wicked say these very things ! 

Now look and see what the world of sinners is 
doing, and what the church of Christ is doing, 
and notice the difference again. The world is 
making war, drinking, persecuting, imposing on 
the weak and the poor, cheating, frolicking, hating, 
blaspheming. Sabbath-breaking. The church is 
praising God, studying his word, praying for poor 
sinners, preaching the gospel, teaching Sunday 


schools, holding meetings, sending missionaries to 
the heathen, scattering Bibles and good books all 
over the earth, baptizing the children, eating the 
Lord's supper. 

Mind, I don't say the world never does anything 
Dleasant or good. God is so kind and so mighty 
that he brings good out of evil, often. And I 
don't say church members never do anything 
wrong; there is some sin left in all of them. But 
this is the thing : you and I know that the drunk- 
ards and the blasphemers are men with natural 
hearts, and those that praise God and teach men 
religion are men with new hearts. And we see the 
difference there is between the church and the 

Try it another way, now ; look at the difference 
between a sinner and a Christian. The sinner has 
to think about God sometimes; he can't help him- 
self. If he could forget him, he would. When- 
ever he can, he thinks about sometliing else. And 
what kind of thoughts are they ? Why, he hardly 
remembers Him till he's frightened into it ; scared 
into wishing God wasn't such a jealous and terrible 
judge! If he's in danger of dying, then he thinks 
— "Well, I'm going to lose this world, any way, 
and if I die as I am, I shall be lost. If I could 
only live for ever in this world, how glad I would 
be ! But God is angry with me, and he can 
destroy me ; how can I escape from him ? " 

And what are the Christian's thoughts of God ? 


Instead of trying to get awav from thinking about 
him, he prays to him; calls him his Father! He 
looks out on the green fields, the great sea, the 
blue sky with its canopy of stars, and rejoices 
because God made them. When he is sick ; when 
sorrow falls on him ; when friends forsake him, he 
takes comfort in thinking, of God, and hearing his 
will. What does David say about God? " 1 will 
go unto God, my exceeding joy I ''^ The believer 
tells the Lord all that is in his heart; what he 
could n 't tell to any man, he pours out before God. 
You can see by that what he thinks of God. The 
Lord as his Friend, his Father, and his Saviour. 

Or if you notice how they feel about death, you 
will see the difference between the new heart and 
the old one. I know some sinners die stupidly j 
they sleep through their last minutes, and die 
asleep. Some are too proud to look frightened, or 
to beg God for mercy then, after refusing him so 
long. Even that isn't dying happily! But oh 
what agonies men feel, that are dying in their sins I 
One cries : " Millions of money for an inch of 
time!" Another says: "Now I know there is a 
hell ; for I feel it already." Others beg for mercy 
— mercy — mercy, in their despair, till they die. 

But the Christian — he may be ever so fearful 
beforehand, but when his day comes to die, God 
gives him strength enough to die in Christ. He 
can leave wife, children and home with a smiling 
face, because he is going to his Father's house. 


One lifts up his dying eves and rejoices ; he says : 
" God, I am saved !" Another answers : " Oh, no, 1 
don't doubt; I'm not afraid to die while my Re- 
deemer lives." Each one in his own way is ready , 
and he goes in peace. 

I will prove it another way. Some sinners grow 
anxious about their souls, but God doesn 't change 
their hearts. Now, if you notice how they treat 
religion, you will see how unfit the old heart is to 
repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Some 
just contrive one false excuse for themselves, and 
that's enough to ease their consciences! They 
haven 't time now, or they don 't feel guilty and 
frightened enough to repent. Their excuses 
look foolish and vain, you see, and yet they 
are strong enough to cheat sinners into putting off 

Some sinners try to make themselves good first, 
though that 's the very thing God offers to do for 
them — to make them good. But they forget him, 
and try to cure themselves — and fail. 

Some imitate religion; they notice how Chris- 
tians talk, and look, ajid feel ; and they come as 
near it as they can, and then persuade themselves 
that they are Christians. How foolish it would 
seem for a sick man to try and behave like a well 
man, instead of taking medicine and getting well ! 
So the men that only try to act like Christians, 
grieve away the Holy Spirit, and are lost. 

Some just harden their hearts, and drive God out 


of their thoughts, and he goes away, grieved and 
angry, and they are cut down in their sins. 

But those that God saves, though they may be- 
have in this same way at first, yet they get more 
and more in earnest somehow. They see how vain 
their excuses are; they feel that their souls are 
worth more than their business ; they find out that 
all their " righteousness is filthy rags." Their hearts 
grow tender, and God leads them on, and gives 
them a new heart — and they are safe. 

I hope you see, now, what a terrible difference 
there is between the old heart and the new heart. 
You see there isn't the slightest hope for a man, 
while he tries to make his own heart new ; and the 
only way for anybody to get a new heart, is to go to 
God for it. 

III. Now let us hear what God says about it. 
He "knows what is in man," and if he says we 
can't be saved except by the Holy Spirit, that 
settles it. 

And first, he tells us that even his teaching won H 
make men wise. Is. xxviii. 12, God said : " This is 
the rest, wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; 
yet they would not hear." Though God himself 
points out the way to heaven for sinners, they won't 
mind Him, nor walk in His ways. And often, when 
they ask the way, they won 't walk in it. When 
the people came and asked the prophet what they 
should do, and he told them, what did they do ? 
Jer. xliv. 16, "As for the word thou hast spoken 


in the name of the Lord, we will not hearken unto 

Even afflictions and trials, He says, won 't bring 
men unto Him. Jer. v. 3, "Thou hast stricken 
them, but they have not grieved; thou hast con- 
sumed them, but they have refused to receive cor- 
rection ; they have made their faces harder than a 
rock ; they have refused to return." What a true 
picture of sinners ! How often we see all these 
things tried on them ! Ministers preach to them; 
they read the Bible; they get sick, and they get 
well; they lose friends and children in the grave; 
but they don 't repent. They have made their faces 
harder than a rock. 

Then, again, he tells us plainly that sinners can H 
please him. Rom. viii. 8, "They that are in the 
flesh cannot please God." John vi. 44, " No man 
can come unto me except the Father draw him." 
John iii. 6, " That which is born of the flesh, is 
flesh." He can't make any change in his own 
heart without God's help ; and unless his heai^t i3 
changed, he can't please God. 

And besides all this, to show us how helpless we 
are, he calls our salvation by two different names; 
being born again, and being raised from the dead. 
The text says, " Except a man be born again, he 
cannot see the kingdom of God." And a little 
further on the Lord Jesus says again : "Except a 
man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot 
enter into the kingdom of God." So, in anoth§r 


place, 1 John v. 1, " Whosoever believeth that Jesus 
is the Christ, is born of God." How plain it is, 
here, that man can't save himself! Now try the 
other name God gives it — being raised from the 
dead. Eph. ii. 1, " And you, who were dead in 
trespasses and sins, hath God quickened," that is, 
" raised from the dead," 2 Cor, v. 14, " If one died 
for all, then were all dead." " Awake, thou that 
sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall 
give thee light." Being a sinner is like being dead ; 
and being converted is like being raised from the 

So it is ; whichever way you look at it, men 
are both guilty and helpless. The sick man might 
just as well try to cure himself without medicine, 
or the starving man to feed himself without bread, 
as the sinner hope to repent and believe without 
grace. What, then, must we do to be saved ? 

" Let him take hold of my strength and make 
peace with me, and he shall make peace with me." 
We are weak, but God is mighty. " If any man sin, 
we have an advocate with the Father, even Jesus 
Christ the Righteous;" and " If ye, being evil, 
know how to give good gifts to your children, how 
much more shall your heavenly Father give the 
Holy Spirit to them that ask him ! " You see, Goa 
made it plain that we can' t be saved our own way; 
and then he shows us just as plainly how we can be 
saved. Seek him ! Go to him in earnest prayer ; 
plead with him for his dear Son's sake; confess 


your sins ; put him in mind of his own promises and 
calls ; ask him to create in you a clean heart and to 
put a right spirit within you. Don't get discour- 
aged ; be like that poor woman the Lord tried so 
long, taking no notice of her, and then saying such 
hard things to her. But she knew he was the Sa- 
viour, and she kept on. Presently he said, " Oh 
woman, great is thy faith ! Be it unto thee as thou 
wilt !" 

Think of that world of woe where sinners and 
devils dwell ; think of the shamefulness of sin ; 
remember how gracious God is — how ready to for- 
give. The Holy Spirit is waiting to be gracious, 
and the Lord Jesus is longing to save. That's 
what he died for! Come, all ye weary, heavy- 
laden, and he will give you rest. Or shall he say 
to you at last, " Ye would not come unto me, that 
YOU might have life ?" 

SERMON yill. 


Therefore if any man he in C7irisf, he is a new creature ; old 
things are passed away — behold, all things are become new. 
—2 Cor. V. 17. 

Were you ever very sick? Sick with a long 
and dangerous fever, so that it took away your 
senses, and kept you on the very edge of the 
grave? You got weaker and weaker; medicine 
didn 't seena to do you any good ; you lay very still ; 
they could hardly find your pulse or feel your heart 
beat or see you breathe ; but just as almost every- 
body thought you were gone, you began to revive 
a little. Your reason came back; your fever left; 
the doctor said: "He will get well." The paina 
of death had got hold upon you, but the Lord 
brought you back from the borders of the pit. 

Now, can you remember how you felt the first 
day you could creep out into the fresh air, with a 
stick to help you? So weak, so tired if you only 
raised your hand or spoke to anybody ; your knees 
would tremble, and your voice was so thin and 
faint, it sounded strange even to you. But oh how 
sweet and bright everything looked! It didn't 
9* 101 


seem like the same world jou lived in before ; and 
the fresh breeze was so cool and gentle ; everybody 
looked so cheerful and kind ; the very trees and 
the birds seemed to be so glad, that the pleasant 
tears would come into your eyes, and your heart 
swelled with happiness. And I hope you thanked 
God, with all your soul, for sparing you when you 
were about to die, and promised to serve him, as 
the hymn says : 

*' My life, which thou hast made thy care. 
Lord, I devote to thee." 

That 's the way people often feel, when they 
have just been converted. At first, when they 
begin to think about religion, they are frightened 
and distressed ; often they can hardly sleep or eat, 
they are in such trouble ; that angry God looks so 
terrible, and they. find they can 't save themselves 
or escape from him. And then, when they are in 
despair about themselves, and feel that they are 
lost, the Lord smiles on them, loves them, gives 
them a new heart, and forgives all their sins. And 
just as beautiful as the world looks to you when 
you begin to get well of sickness, just so calm and 
happy is everything to the man whose sins are all 
washed away, and his wickedness and sorrow is 
cured by the Holy Spirit. 

But often God does his great work in sinners* 
hearts so quietly and gently, that nobody can tell 
just when it was done; they often doubt about them- 
selves 5 they wonder whether there can be the new 


heart; they're afraid they have made some mis- 
take. Especially when some young Christians show 
such a great sudden change it makes the others 
say: "If that is the way we have to be converted, 
I can 't be a Christian." Now, I want to clear up 
that trouble for you ; I want to show you what a 
young Christian really is ; how he feels and acts ; 
so that you can find out about yourself whether you 
are a sinner yet, or if God has saved you. 

T. And I will tell you, first of all, something 
about the young Christian's /ee/w^5. 

Often th-e change in his feelings is just as quiet 
as the sun's going over our head at 12 o'clock; it 
makes no noise at all, but the shadows begin to 
fall the other way ; where it was dark before it is 
light now, and it grows brighter and brighter till 

See what a difference in his feelings ahout God. 
Once, God was very terrible to him ; he couldn 't 
stop thinking about him, but he only remembered 
the Lord's most fearful names; the jealous God, 
the dreadful God, the angry God. If he could only 
forget him, how glad he would have been. But he 
couldn't; day and night he said to himself: " Our 
God is a consuming fire ;" " it is a fearful thing to 
fall into the hands of the living God ! " Many a 
man has got so frightened and angry, thinking 
about his danger and God's wrath, that if he could 
tear Jehovah from his throne, he would do it. 

But now! "The Lord is my Shepherd — I shall 


oot want: He leadeth me; yea, though I walk 
through the valley of the shadow of death, I will 
fear no evil, for thou art with me. I will dwell in 
the house of the Lord for ever." Instead of being 
afraid of God, as he used to be, it is thinking about 
God that keeps him from being afraid. Just like 
the little child that wakes up in the night and 
throws out its hand to its mother, and feels safe 
because she is there ; so God's child, that would be 
frightened because of sin, and death, and hell, 
rests in peace, because the Lord is near. Hear 
what David said^ when his cruel son Absalom and 
a whole army were gathered round him to take his 
life : " Thou, Lord, art a shield for me ! I lay me 
down in peace, and sleep; I awake, for the Lord 
sustains me. I cry unto the Lord with my voice, 
and he hears me out of his holy hill." 

And one thing is very wonderful and very beauti- 
ful; the young Christian loves to remember that 
God is holy. That was the very thing that made 
the sinner afraid. God being so pure and spot- 
less; hating sin so deeply; being so "angry with 
the sinner every day ; " that was the most awful 
thought to him. But now, though he knows there 
is sin in him still, he rejoices because God is holy. 
He cries out, " Let me praise thy great and terrible 
name, for it is holy." When he thinks about his 
own transgressions, and gets sad and discouraged, 
tlien he looks up and takes comfort, because God is 
good and pure, and because God promises that at 
last we shall be like him." 


See, now, what he thinks of Christ: 

"How sweet the name of Jeaus sounds, 

In a believer's ear ! 
It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds, 

And drives away his fear." 

At the very name of the dear saviour his voice 
trembles, and his heart swells, and the tears fill his 
eyes. Like Mary Magdalene, when she met him 
just risen from the tomb, he can't say much, but he 
can kneel and cry — " My Master!" Oh, if he can 
only do something to please the Lord, and to make 
men honour him, how glad he will be ! The Lord 
don't need him — he knows that very well; but his 
own heart and hands can 't keep still. He under- 
stands now what John says about the saints in 
heaven — "they rest not, day nor night, praising 
God and the Lamb." The Lord i^ his friend ; in 
every trouble, in every joy, he goes to his Saviour's 
feet, and pours out his heart there. He wants 
everybody to come and trust in Jesus Christ; and 
he can promise them, if they will only try him, 
they will say: "Now we believe, not because of thy 
saying, for we have heard him ourselves, and know 
that this is indeed the Saviour of the world." 

But it is trembling joy that is in his heart. He 
feels so unworthy ; so ashamed of that wickedness 
he lived in ; so afraid that he won 't keep his own 
promises, and that he will dishonour his Saviour in 
Bome way, that he can hardly trust himself to 


rejoice. Then he wonders at the change in him- 
self; he looks up to the Saviour, and wonders 
that such a great and holy God should care for a 
poor sinner like him; he can 't understand it. But 
he can praise him! Oh, yes; he can sing the song 
of heaven already: " Salvation unto our God, that 
sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for 
ever ! " 

As I told you just now, he remembers his sins ; 
but he don't think about them as he used to. 
Once, he was only sorry for his sins, because they 
brought him into danger If he could only think 
God would 'nt punish him for them, he would 
never give them up; and if he thought he could 
go on safely in sin for ten years, or fifty, and then 
be saved, he'd give every minute to sin and Satan. 
But because he was afraid of dying and being lost, 
he began to seek religion. 

But now he feels very differently about sin — it 
grieves his dear Father, and he hates it for that. 
If there wasn't any hell, he would hate sin, just 
because it offends Jesus Christ, who is our Master 
and our chief delight. Our very hearts cry out as 
David's did: — "Oh Lord, how I love thy law I'' 
We sec that the law is right, and we know that he 
is good ; and we can 't bear to break it, or to dis- 
please him. 

The young Christian loves all Christians. He 
looks up to God's old servants with love and hope. 
He loves them for being the Lord's own children } 


for loving the same heavenly Father that he loves. 
He thinks how many thousands of prayers they have 
prayed ; how they used to feel just as he does now ; 
how much wiser and better they have grown. And 
he thinks: " By the Holy Spirit's help, I shall be 
like them. I will serve my G-od all my days. 1 am 
only the little blade of corn now, just come up out 
of the ground, but the Lord will bless me, and I 
will grow up to be the full corn in the ear. Then, 
when the angels come to gather the grain into his 
barn, they will take me to heaven too ! " 

But oh, how tenderly he loves young Christians, 
like himself! When he sees them weeping for joy 
because their sins are forgiven ; when he hears them 
pray for a blessing on their minister, their friends, 
and poor sinners ; when they sing God's praise, his 
whole heart answers to it. They are " one," as the 
Saviour promised. He almost trembles, when he is 
with them, for fear he may say or do something to 
discourage or trouble them, or tempt them away 
from their God. How earnestly he prays that God 
will bless them, keep them from sin, make them use- 
ful, happy, holy ! 

Notice, now, how he loves the Bible. It is a 
very puzzling book to sinners; it says a great 
many things they don't understand; some few, I 
know, that hardly anybody understands; but a 
great many of God's words are " hard sayings " to 
sinners. Hating sin, loving God whom nobody 
ever saw, rejoicing in affliction and sorrow, being 


strong in God when we are weak in ourselves — 
these are things that we can 't understand till we 
feel them. That makes the difference. Every 
little while the young Christian finds a verse that 
used to be dark to him, that is all plain and easy 
now. He says: "That's the very way I feel; I 
know that's true now, though I didn't use to think 
so." Presently you hear him again; "How true 
that is ! I never thought so before, but now 1 
feel it." 

Then, very often, he has a feeling of some kind 
that he can 't express at all. He tries to find some 
words for it, but they don 't come ; till at last he 
reads or hears some sweet word out of the Bible 
that suits him exactly. But the great thing is, 
that now he believes God's word. 

The promises belong to him ; whatever God says, 
he believes; he takes it into his heart and "com- 
forts himself with these words." Then it teaches 
him so much that he wants to know; he gets ac- 
quainted with his Saviour and his God there ; he 
learns about heaven; he grows wise about what's 
right and wrong. In fact, whenever he gets weak 
and weary, the Scriptures make him strong; when 
he gets downhearted, they cheer him ; when he gets 
cold and careless, they stir him up ; when he feels 
ignorant, they teach him; when he sins, they re- 
buke him ; while he lives they guide him ; when he 
dies they make him triumph in his God! No 
wonder he loves them dearly ; they come from his 


Father and his Redeemer, and they lead him up to 
Him. He says : " Thy word have I hid in my 
heart, that I might not sin against thee ; thy law is 
my delight. How sweet are thy words unto my 
taste ! It is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto 
my path." 

Once more. See what he thinks about the worlds 
to come — the world of woe, and the world of joy. 
He looks back on hell, as a man might look at a 
burning house he had just been dragged out of, or 
on a raging sea he has just escaped from — with 
mingled horror and joy. " If I had been left to go 
on in sin a little longer, that would have been my 
portion! Perhaps, if I had grieved God's Holy 
Spirit once more, he would have left me there! 
Now I'm safe; the Lord is my keeper; the gates 
of hell shall not prevail against me. Glory, glory, 
to Jesus Christ my Redeemer 

"He burst the iron gates of death 
And tore the bars away ! " 

Ah, how sweet are his thoughts of heaven ! If a 
pleasant breeze blows; if the day is cool and 
bright; if the clouds grow splendid at sunrise 
or sun set, he thinks: " My home is better yet." 
If the night grows dark and gloomy, he remembers, 
" there is no night there." If he hears Christians 
singing songs of praise, he joins them with all his 
heart, for he knows he will yet sing the " song of 
Moses and the Lamb." When sin shames him and 
casts him down, and he weeps about it before the 



Lord, his comfort is, that he will soon go where 
thej never sin; just as you sing it in your own 

" Free — oh free, my Lord ; 
Free from every sin." 

Sickness and death, war and shame and woe, 
never come there. He feels it; and often he stands 
and looks up to heaven, and his heart yearns to be 
there. Heaven is his home. 

II. But it isn't only new feelings the young 
Christian has; he has new principles, too. 

Mind, I don't say "new resolutions." Sinners 
make all the resolutions, just like the Christian ; 
but the trouble is, there is nothing in his heart to 
make him keep them. Often the young Christian 
is almost afraid to make any more good resolutions, 
he feels so weak and wicked ; he isn 't near as bold 
as he was ; but something in his heart, that God 
put there, keeps him fromfi sinning, and makes him 
do right. That something is what I call his prin- 

And the first one is, always to try and please 
God. That was one of the Lord Jesus Christ's 
principles — "I do always the things that please 
my Father." Not as if God was hard to please, 
and it took a great deal of trying to satisfy him — 
oh, no. He leaves such foolish thoughts for the 
unbelievers ; but he loves God so for his goodness, 
his holiness, and his mercy, that he must do some- 
thing to show his love. Like a little child, that 


loves to run across the floor, and bring its mother's 
spool or thimble, just to see her smile and look 
bright ; so God's child is happy when he feels he is 
doing his Father's will. 

The next one is, to taice his Saviour for his 
King. He knows the Lord Jesus is his Saviour; 
but he isn't satisfied with just being delivered 
from hell. He prays with his whole soul, " Thy 
kingdom come; thy will be done on earth, as it is 
in heaven." So he tries to keep all the Lord's 
laws himself; he wants everybody to own and obey 
their Redeemer ; and he does all he can to build 
up the church. It grieves him to see the Sabbath 
day broken; to hear the name of the Lord Jesus 
taken in vain by the wicked ; to think how many 
great nations there are that do not know him and 
serve idols. 

Another principle is, to he a good and true brother 
to his brethren and sisters in the church. You can 
always tell him by his keeping the peace. Old 
Christians sometimes get cold hearted and quarrel- 
some ; but if a man who thinks he has just been 
converted is quarrelsome, hard to please, can 't 
forget a cross word or an injury, tell him he is mis- 
taken; if he had just begun to love God, he couldn 't 
bear malice against God's children. He prays for 
his minister constantly; begs God to remember him, 
and give him grace and wisdom. He thinks about 
the church, and tries to find out what he can do for 
the Lord's people. He says, " Because of the house 
of the Lord our God, I will seek thy good." 


The next one is, to do all the good he can. The 
divine commandment, you know, is this: "Thou 
shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." And he be- 
gins to keep that law, and every law of God, as 
soon as he finds it. He pities poor sinners about 
to die in their sins, and be lost for ever. He prays 
for them ; he watches his chance to speak a good 
word to them ; if they have any friend that can do 
it better than he can, he asks him to be faithful too. 
He is kind to the poor and sick, to the wicked and 
miserable. Like his Saviour, who wept over Jeru- 
salem when the Jews rejected him and were going 
to kill him, he weeps for dying men, and longs to 
save them. 

I can only speak of one more principle now — to 
make haste, and get rid of sin. He is tired of this 
wicked world; he was "weary and heavy laden" 
before he found peace in Christ, and now, when he 
looks into his heart, and finds unruly passions and 
selfish feelings there, it grieves and darkens his 
mind. He repents of every sin as soon as he finds 
it out; he pleads with the Lord every day, to keep 
him from temptation, and deliver him from evil; 
he is glad to deny himself, and give up even what 
seems right, if it is likely to lead on to something 
else that's wrong. He abhors what is evil, and 
tries to get rid of it ; and he tries to live by the 
Lord's command, "whether ye eat or drink, or 
■whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." 

But remember, though he is a " new creature," 


he is young yet. As David says, his " soul is even 
as a weaned child ;" weak, unable to take care of 
itself, needing to be looked after all the time. So 
the young Christian don't get discouraged when he 
finds some evil in himself; he knows that he has a 
great deal to learn, and that he will have to work 
hard and get strong, and then he will be holy and 
happy. " They that have clean hands will grow 
stronger and stronger.' 



' With the mouth confession is made unto salvation." — ^Rom. x. 1 0. 

The Lord Jesus, our good Shepherd, has pro- 
■^xvled a fold for his flock — a place where he can 
keep them together, and watch over them. It is 
called his church ; the church of Christ ; the house 
of the living God. All who belong to him, whom 
he bought with his precious blood, have a right to 
dwell there, and be numbered among his " sheep." 
He promised that there should be '' one fold and 
one shepherd ;" that is, that all his people should 
be one people, whatever place they lived in, and 
whatever name they were called by; and that he 
himself would be the Saviour of all ; not taking 
care of some himself, and leaving the rest to some 
body else, but counting all together, and caring for 
dll — being every Christian's own dear Redeemer. 

Now that he has brought his people together and 
made them into a church, he invites everybody 
that believes in him and repents of sin, to join it. 
It 's the place, not for sinners that want to be sayed 


and wish they were Christians, but for those who 
think that they are Christians already. Your house 
is the place for your children, and not for other 
children that wish they were yours; and so the 
church is for God's family, and nobody else. And 
I want to tell you to-day what a sweet and happy 
place it is, that the Lord has built for his dear 
friends. I want to invite every one of you, that 
repents and believes on the Lord Jesus Christ, to 
join the church. You see what that text says: 
** With the mouth confession is made unto salva- 
tion;^^ that is, the way to be saved is, to profess the 
Lord before men. 

Nobody must expect to be saved by hiding a 
little religion in their hearts where it will never be 
heard of. The only way is, to believe with all your 
heart and come out from the worlds and confess the 
Lord as your Saviour publicly. That's the way 
to be saved, and the Bible don't tell us any other 

I. But, first of all, we must have something to 

How foolish it would be to think that God was 
pleased with a falsehood ! And yet, every year, a 
great many people join the church, that know they 
are not God's children ; they think if they can only 
get in there, they are safe. It is very wicked, as 
well as foolish and dangerous. 

Joining the church is just saying to everybody 
who sees you do it: "I was a sinner, lost and 


ruined, hardened and helpless, but now I take the 
Lord Jesus Christ as my Saviour; I believe that I 
have repented of all my sins, and that he has par- 
doned me, and that my name is now written in the 
book of life. I give up the world; I'm tired of 
sin: I'm going to serve God all my days." Now, 
suppose I say all that when I don't feel it, just be- 
cause I think getting into the church will save me, 
haven't I told a falsehood? Isn't it wicked to say 
what isn't true to men? And how much more 
dreadful is it to say it to God I 

But the sinner is the very man who don't care 
about God in his heart ; he may be frightened 
about his sins; he may wish he was safe; he may 
take some comfort in going to church and prayer 
meetings; because he thinks he can escape from 
hell that way; but as soon as his fright is gone, 
his religion is gone too. What pleasure can 
God take in seeing such a man called his ser- 
vant, and counted among his people ? How angry 
the Lord Jesus must be, when he sees a sinner 
and an unbeliever sit down at the communion 
and make believe there ! — pretend to honour the 
Lord's broken body, when he don't trust him at 

The Lord Jesus said some terrible things about 
false professors of religion. Let me tell you some 
of his sayings: "Ye hypocrites! well did Isaiah 
prophesy of you, saying, ' This people draweth 
nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me 


with their lips, but their heart is far from me.'" 
And again he says: "Woe unto you, scribes and 
Pharisees, hypocrites I for ye are like unto whited 
sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, 
but within are full of dead men's bones and all 
uncleanness." And if I was to tell you what God 
says about those who worshipped him falsely in old 
times, you would tremble, for fear you should fall 
into the same condemnation. 

In truth, the sinner's heart is vile in God's sight, 
for God is holy ; and he cannot bear to count any- 
body among his friends that isn't ashamed of sin, 
and praying for the Holy Spirit to cure him of 
wickedness. God is the God of truth, and he hates 
every false way, and therefore, as the hymn says, 

"Abhors the sacrifice 
Where not the heart is found." 

And this makes it plain that nobody ought to 
.profess religion, till he has some religion to pro- 
fess. It is foolish and wicked to try it before 
then ; it is cheating ourselves and mocking God. 

II. But if a man is a Christian, then, as I told 
you just now, the church is the very place for him ; 
the safest and happiest place for every child of 
God. God invites them to come in ; promises them 
blessings if they confess the Lord, and threatens 
woe, if they are ashamed of him. " Whosoever 
shall confess me before men, him will I also confess 
before my Father who is in heaven. But whoso- 


ever shall deny me before men, him will I also 
deny before my Father who is in heaven." And 
again : " If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the 
Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that 
God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be 
saved. For with the heart man believeth unto 
righteousness ; and with the mouth confession is 
made unto salvation." Sometimes God gives us a 
positive command about it: " Come out from among 
them, {i. e. from among the sinnerS;) my people, 
and be ye separate; aud I will receive you, and 
will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons 
and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." 

That ought to be enough for anybody that loves 
God, or believes on the Lord Jesus. To have the 
Saviour own him before our Father in heaven, and 
to have God call him his son — isn't that a pre- 
cious promise? If it was something hard and 
dangerous and fearful, every true Christian would 
rejoice to own his God and Redeemer; but the 
Lord has filled his church with blessings for his 

First of all, you know the world is full of tempt- 
titions ; inside and outside, everything persuades 
us to sin against God. And we are just so blind 
and foolish, that anything can lead us into sin, and 
so into trouble and darkness. Everything that helps 
us to resist temptation is a blessing; it helps us 
just where we need help the most. But what can 
a man do that will help him so much as making a 


public promise? You stand up before all the 
Christians, and before ever so many sinners too — 
old friends and strangers both — before the great 
God and our Saviour, and you make a solemn 
public promise to live a pure and pious life ; to 
pray for the Holy Spirit's help, and to serve the 
Lord with all your might ; to set a good example, 
and to do good as you have opportunity. And 
surely if anything a man can do will make him 
firm and faithful, such a solemn vow as that will 
do it. 

The next thing is this — joining the church puts 
the Christian among Christians ; it makes him 
"come out from among" the sinners, and be sepa- 
rate, and it joins him to those who believe on the 
same Lord Jesus Christ, and love the same God, 
and make the same promise. 

Now we know how feelings run from one heart 
to another; if one member of a family is good- 
tempered and pleasant and happy, the others' faces 
begin to brighten too. And we know how easy it 
is to do right, if all the company do the same thing. 
How many people work hard, just because every- 
body about is industrious! So, when the young 
Christian leaves the company of sinners, and joins 
himself to those who love heaven and their Father 
there — those that are patiently trying to do right 
and to please God and to get rid of sin — those 
who love one another and are kind — it is a great 
deal easier for him to do right j it keeps his heart 


warmer and brighter to have so mucli love and 
happiness all around. 

Then, again, when the young Christian joins the 
church, he feels that all those precious privileges 
they have there, belong to him. It is the house of 
his God where they worship ; it is his Saviour they 
praise. His minister preaches, and he preaches to 
him. When prayer is made for the church, he 
knows that means him too. He is not a stranger 
there : he 's at home. 

But most of all, he feels that at the Lord's table, 
any body can hear the preaching, and join in the 
singing; but only those that come out from the 
world can take the communion. When the minister 
repeats the Lord's words, " This is my body, broken 
for you," his heart answers: "Yes, my master, it 
was broken for me ! That blood was shed for me ! 
As often as I do this, I remember thee. I promise 
to show forth thy death till thou come ! " 

And then, he knows that every officer in the 
church has promised to watch over him, and help 
him. If they see him going astray, it is their place 
to warn him kindly; to instruct him; to encourage 
him ; to strengthen him, whenever he tries to do 
right. If his heart gets heavy and dark, he can go 
to his pastor, the elders, or the leaders, and tell 
them about it, and get their advice ; they will feel 
for him, and pray for him, and study his case, to 
see what the matter is. If he finds out that he has 
been sinning, he can go and confess it to them, and 


have tlie help of their prayers, and their watching 
over him, to hold him up when he tries to do better. 
In truth, they are bound to help him every way 
they can ; that 's exactly what the Lord put them 
there for ; and no church member ought to feel 
afi-aid to go to his minister and talk to him about 
anything that concerns his soul. The Bible says : 
" They watch for our souls, as they that must give 

But the greatest of all is this — the Lord our God 
has promised to bless his church; and of course, 
whoever really belongs to the church, will get his 
share of Grod's blessing. " Yea, God loved the peo- 
ple ; he will keep the feet of his saints. For the 
Lord forsaketh not his saints; he preserve th their 
soul; he delivereth them out of the hand of the 
wicked. Now, therefore, ye are no more strangers 
and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, 
and of the household of God." 

" My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and 
they follow me. And I give unto them eternal life; 
and they shall never perish." " God shall confirm 
you to the end, that ye may be blameless in the day 
of the Lord Jesus." " For the Lord will not for- 
sake his people, because it hath pleased him to 
make you his people," " Can a woman forget her 
sucking child? Yea, they may forget; yet will I 
not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee on the 
palms of my hands, and thy walls are continually 

before me." 



He promises to deliver us out of affliction. "In 
a little wrath I hid my face from thee, but with 
everlastiug kindness will I have mercy on thee, 
saith the Lord thy Redeemer." " Thus saith the 
Lord that created thee, and he that formed thee, O 
Israel — Tear not! for I have redeemed thee; I 
have called thee by thy name: thou art mine. 
When thou passest through the waters, I will be 
with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not 
overflow thee ; when thou walkest through the fire, 
thou shalt not be burned. For I am the Lord thy 
God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour." 

He promises to make the church holy : "He who 
has begun a good work in you will perform it until 
the day of Jesus Christ." The Lord Jesus " gave 
himself for the church, that he might sanctify and 
cleanse it ; that he might present it to himself a 
glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any 
such thing ; but that it should be holy." And he 
shows us how he will bless the church in heaven at 
last: "After this, I beheld, and lo, a great multi- 
tude, which no man could number, of all nations, 
and kindreds, and peoples, and tongues, stood be- 
fore the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with 
white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried 
with a loud voice, saying: Salvation to our God 
who sitteth on the throne, and unto the Lamb! 
These are they which came out of great tribulation, 
and have washed their robes and made them white 
in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they 


before the throne of God, and serve him day and 
night in his temple; and he that sitteth on the 
throne shall dwell among them. They shall hun- 
ger no more, neither thirst any more; neither 
shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For 
the Lord, which is in the midst of the throne shall 
feed them, and shall lead them unto living foun- 
tains of waters : and G-od shall wipe away all 
tears from their eyes." 

These are some of God's promises and kind 
words to his church. I might show you a great 
many more, for the Lord dearly loves his church, 
• but these are enough, surely. Every true-hearted 
church -member has a share in them, and God will 
bless him according to his promise. 

IIL But God hasn 't only promised to bless and 
reward the Christian himself. He doesn't mean 
us to look just at the good we can get out of it and 
nothing else. Joining the church is the way to do 
good, as well as to get good. 

First of all, it encourages the Christians, when 
men leave the world and join them and confess the 
Lord. They say : " Our God is saving sinners 
again! Here's another poor sinner repenting! 
One more of his enemies, that he has brought to 
be his friend!" Then they thank God and take 
courage; they can praise and pray; they can serve 
God and do good, with new spirit, when they see 
that he is calling men '' out of darkness into his 
marvellous light." 


It warns sinners, too; it makes tliem feel how 
great God's mercy is, and how others are entering 
the kingdom of heaven while they stay out. They 
remember that eyery one of these new Christians 
will rise up against them in the judgment, because 
they had the same blessings and didn 't repent. It 
puts them in mind of that " great gulf" that lies 
between heaven and hell, when they see how we 
begin to part from one another here — the husband 
belonging to the church, perhaps, and the wife 
belonging to the world, the sister loving God, and 
the brother loving sin ; the father praying, and the 
son swearing. 

In a great many other ways, joining the church 
does good. It brings religion into a man's family j 
it makes him set a good example wherever he is — 
in the field or in the house ; it sets him to praying 
for people ; and more than all, it honours God. It 
says : " God, thou art my God 1 early will I seek 
thee, for in thee the friendless and fatherless 
findeth mercy. Thou forgivest all my sins; thou 
renewest my heart; thou leadest me in the way of 
life. I will sing praise unto my God, while I have 
my being ! Thou keepest my soul from death, mine 
eyes from tears, and my feet from falling. The 
Lord hath washed me from my sins in his own 
blood : he is my Eedeemer, and 1 am his servant. 
I give up every other hope, and every idol, and 
every sin ; the Lord is my portion and my joy. I 
bear witness that Jesus Christ is a perfect Sa- 


viour, and the Lord my God is an everlasting 
Father." So we honour God and do good; and 
God smiles on us and saves us. Isn't it a good 
thing to profess Christ? and oughtn't every be- 
liever to speak out and own his Lord? " With the 
heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with 
the mouth confession is made unto salvation." 




Only let your conversation he as becometh the gospel of Christ, 
—Phil. i. 27. 

I SUPPOSE you have all heard of Paul, the 
great Apostle; the man who wrote the verse 
that I'm taking for my text. His first name was 
Saul. He was a Jew; fond of his religion and 
his goodness; knowing nothing about his own 
heart, or the real meaning of God's word. While 
he thought he was so good, he was full of wicked 
and bitter passions; he was proud, self-righteous, 
uncharitable. So, when the Lord Jesus came and 
died for us, Paul was ready to hate him and all his 
people ; and when the first Christians came out of 
their hiding places, and began to tell the good 
news of a Saviour, Paul — young man as he was — 
was ready to persecute and kill them. When that 
good man, Stephen, was beaten to death with 
stones, Paul stood by and took care of their clothes 
for those who were murdering him. And when the 
Christians began to flee away and hide again, be- 
cause of the persecution, he was the fiercest of all 
in hunting for them, hearting them, putting them in 


jail, or anything else the cruel Jews wanted to do 
with them. 

He hated the Christians so bitterly, that when 
he couldn't find any more to persecute in Jerusa- 
lem, he begged the rulers and chief men to let him 
go to Damascus and oppress them there : " both 
men and women," the Bible says ! No pity in his 
heart for any poor sinner that believed in Jesus 

But while he was hurrying on there, fierce and 
cruel ; thirsting for their blood as any tiger, all at 
once a bright and terrible light shone out of 
heaven on him — brighter than the very sun itself 
— so bright that he fell down, blind and sick, on 
the ground ! It was the Lord Jesus Christ, in his 
glorious body, looking down from heaven on this 
wicked man, persecuting his people. The Lord 
said : " Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me ?" He 
answered: "Who art thou. Lord?" Christ said : 
*■' I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest." 
In an instant Paul saw what he was doing ; he was 
hating and grieving his own Saviour ! the Lord 
that died for him! Oh, how frightened and 
ashamed he was! every proud and bitter thought 
melted out of his mind, and he began to love the 
very cause, and the very people that he had been 
hating. And his first word then was: "Lord, what 
wilt thou have me to do?" That was the uppermost 
thing in his heart, all the rest of his life. "I must 


do something for my Lord. What wilt thou have 
me to do?" 

Christ didn 't tell him, right off, what he was to 
do ; he kept him three days blind and idle in Da- 
mascus, to give him time to think, and to make up 
his mind perfectly. Then he sent Ananias to him, 
to open his eyes, and to tell him that his work was 
this : " preach the gospel to the G-entiles." And 
from that day to the day his head was cut off, he* 
never gave it up : wherever he was, he warned and 
taught the people, and told them of the " Lamb of 
God that taketh away the sin of the world." 

Now, every true Christian, in his first days, is 
like Paul in this, that he wants to know how he 
ought to live, and what the Lord would have him 
to do. It would make him very unhappy if the 
Lord should forbid him to work for him and 
serve him; but often he feels puzzled — he don't 
know just what the rule of his life ought to be. 
And this is what Paul tells us in the text, " Only 
let your conduct be as becomes the gospel of 
Christ;" fit your life to that good news, and you 
will be just right. You know what that good 
news is: the gospel puts us in mind that we are 
sinners, and then tells us how the Lord Jesus 
Christ came into the world and died on the cross 
to save us; that God will save his people, and give 
the Holy Spirit to them that ask him ; that he takes 
care of us here, and makes us dwell in heaven when 
we die. 


What kind of life, then, will match that glorious 
gospel? What must the Christian's conduct be? 

That's the question I want to answer for you 
to-day, so that you can know what the Lord will 
have you to do. 

I. Our conduct must be humble. 

If a man makes a great and strange mistake, we 
always think that after he find it out, he ought to 
have a poorer opinion of himself, and more respect 
for other people's judgment. If he makes so many 
mistakes as to show that he is ignorant and foolish, 
we think he ought to be very cautious how he trusts 
his own judgment again, and be very careful to fol- 
low good advice always. But if he has been a 
drunkard, or a liar, or a thief, all his life, we won- 
der how he can ever hold up his head, and look 
and talk proudly any more. 

Now, we know what we used to be. If we wanted 
to forget it, the Bible keeps putting us in mind. We 
were "dead in trespasses and sins; by nature the 
children of wrath ;" " wherefore remember " Paul 
says, "remember that ye were without God, having 
no hope.'' God was angry with us ; we were full 
of sin; ungrateful, selfish, disobedient; despising 
his goodness, and rejecting Jesus Christ. We must 
remember this; and remembering it ought to hum- 
ble us. It will make us feel how wicked we are by 
ourselves, and how certain we are to go back to 
sin, if the same mighty God that turned us, doesn 't 
keep us all the time. It will keep us from despis- 


ing sinners, and from forgetting that we were just 
like them. It will make us afraid to run into 
temptation ; make us know that we are never safe 
except when we are near the Lord. 

All that we say and do ; even the way we look, 
ought to show that we never forget what poor sin- 
ners we are : how guilty, and vile, and ready to 
perish. Everything proud and haughty is foolish 
in us, and hateful to God. 
II. Our conduct must be holy. 
Now that we see how guilty and vile sin makes 
us; vexes the great God who wants to be our 
friend ; turns away his love ; fills our hearts with 
evil passions ; makes our consciences sore and sad ; 
hardens us ; destroys our peace ; prepares us for 
hell ; we must fear and hate sin with all our might. 
We must search into our hearts to see what wick- 
edness is left there ; to confess it, and repent of it, 
and beg God to cure it for ns. We must pray Da- 
vid's prayer: " Search me, God, and know my 
heart; try me, and know my thoughts, and see if 
there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the 
way everlasting." 

Then, you know, if we are Christians, we will 
love the Lord Jesus Christ, and we will try to honour 
him in the eyes of men. And we know that noth- 
ing could dishonour him, or keep men from respect- 
ing him, more than being selfish and passionate, 
worldly and proud, and prayerless, when we are 
called by his name. We know that if we love 


liis law, and keep ourselves spotless and unblam- 
able; if everybody sees how tender-hearted and 
loving and good we are, they will think better of 
him. They will say : " It is worth something to be 
saved by Jesus Christ ; see how pure, and brave, 
and kind his people are ! " 

But not only for that; not only to honour our 
Lord, hut because we love him so ourselves, we must 
long to be like him : that must be our great ambi- 
tion. Just as every good soldier loves to see his 
general brave, and then tries to be just as brave 
himself; just as every good child is ashamed and 
disappointed when it does anything that its father 
or mother wouldn 't do ; so the true believer is 
never satisfied, when he isn 't like Christ. When 
he is passionate, or proud, and finds it out, he says, 
" Ah, my Lord never would do that. I 'm not like 
my Saviour yet! Help me, my God, and cure 
me of sin ! " 

He longs to get away from this evil world, where 
everything tempts him, and leads him away from 
the Lord Jesus, and go where he shall ever " be with 
the Lord." 

" There we shall see his face, 
And never, never sin." 

That's what makes heaven so beautiful and so 
happy; and those who want to dwell in heaven 
must be holy. 

Ill, We must be prayerful. 


Anybody that wants to be good and holy, and 
Knows how weak, and sinful, and foolish we are, 
will be sure to pray. Anybody that believes that 
God is kind and mighty, will have something to 
ask him. Anybody that knows God is our king, 
and that loves to serve him, will want to confess 
every sin to him, and be pardoned. And whoever 
doesn't pray, we know he is proud, and wicked, 
and unbelieving, and disobedient. 

What does the Bible say ? " Blessed are they 
that do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for 
they shall be filled." But if we want to be right- 
eous so much, we will feel how helpless we are, and 
we will be pouring out our hearts before God every 
day — telling hiiu how ashamed and sorry we are, 
to be so evil, and praying, " Create in me a clean 
heart, God ; renew a right spirit within me ! " 

Then all our sorrows and joys we will carry to 
our dear Saviour. We will " trust in him at all 
times :" 

" To him in every trouble flee, 
Our best, our only Fi'iend !" 

When pain and sickness come; when death 
is near; when our dear ones are taken away, 
we will tell him about it, submit to him, and 
pray for strength to grow better, and bear it well. 
We will ask him for everything we want; we 
will pray for a blessing on our families, our 
church, our friends ; we will beseech him to save 


poor sinners, and tlie whole wicked, miserable 

TV. We must he patient. 

Yexation, disappointment, and sorrow come upon 
everybody. Death and tears fill the world, because 
of sin ; and if we are God's children, we won 't be 
angry and discontented when we suffer ; we won 't 
give up religion, and say, " What use is it to serve 
God, if he doesn't save us from sorrow?" We 
musn 't sit down in despair, as if there never was 
any better time coming. We must believe that God 
is good and faithful. We must know that he is try- 
ing to cure us of sin and pride, and to take away 
our idols, that keep us from loving him. 

We must confess to him that we deserve all that 
we suffer, and more; we deserve to die and be cut 
off for ever ; but we are not afraid of that now. 
The gospel tells us that " Whosoever cometh unto 
him, he will in no wise cast out: " so we trust him, 
and "rejoice in tribulation." We leave all our 
affairs in his hands, and we are sure that all he does 
is kind, and right, and wise. "The Lord is right- 
eous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.'' — 
And whoever believes in the Lord will believe that, 
and be patient. 

Y. The true believer must be busy. 

Our days are few and evil; time is short, and 
eternity is long; and yet whatever we do now, is 
done for eternity. Soon we must go where there 
are no tears to wipe away, no sorrows to relieve, no 



sinners to save. As the Lord Jesus said : " The 
night Cometh, when no man can work." Whatever 
we are going to do, we must do it quickly. If we 
are going to conquer sin, to help our friends, to 
teach our children, to serve the Lord among men, 
to spread the good news of the gospel, now is the 
time ! A few days more, and we shall be in another 

And you know the Bible says, "There remaineth 
a rest for the people of God." We are expected to 
work hard and wear out here. God puts our rest on 
the other side of the grave to show us that " this is 
not our rest." And when he tells us about heaven, 
in the gospel, the next thing he says is : " Where- 
fore be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding 
in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know 
that your labour is not in vain in the Lord." 
Wlioever believes this will be busy, '' Redeeming 
the time, because the days are evil." 

YI. Our conduct must be spiritual. 

The gospel makes a great difference between 
those who are worldly minded and those who are 
spiritually minded; and people often wonder what 
it means by those names. Let me tell you about 

The worldly minded man is the man whose 
thoughts, and cares, and business, are all in this 
world. His treasure is here, and his heart also. 
He lives and feels just as if this world was going 
to last for ever, and he was going to live here 


always. Money is worth more to him tlian God's 
grace and a new heart. He cares more about man's 
respecting him, than about God's forgiving him. 
He is more anxious to have his own way in this 
life, than to make heaven his home. Instead of 
loving God, his heart is full of idols. 

But we must not be so — we that believe on the 
Lord Jesus Christ. That is the very sin we con- 
fessed and gave up, when we first came to God. 
" No man can serve two masters ; ye cannot serve 
God and mammon " — that is, God and this world. 
So we took God for our portion, and gave up this 
world. We professed that it was better to have 
God forgive and love us, than to be rich or honour- 
able ; than to have pleasure, and health, and ease in 
this life. We took heaven for our home; and we 
owned that this world is so wicked, and miserable, 
and lasts such a little while, that we were foolish 
for loving and caring about it. And now, whatever 
comes : sorrow, trouble, reproach, death, we have 
promised "to take up the cross and follow Jesus." 

Now, what I say is, we must live according to our 
profession^ and our promise. We mustn 't go back 
nOw, and live as if we minded the opinions and 
words of men, more than the will and the favour of 
God. We mustn 't care more for money than we do 
for holiness. We mustn 't try harder to have an 
easy time and our own way, than we do to get to 
heaven. *We mustn't be discontented aud rebellious 
because of sorrow and toil in this life. No ; heaven 


is our home ! Christ is our all ! God is our exceed- 
ing jo J ! We live for them, and not for this vain 
world So, when Paul is telling about his trials and 
persecutions, he says : " But none of these things 
move me, neither count I my life dear unto me, that I 
might finish my course with joy." And in another 
place he says, "These light afflictions, which are but 
for a moment (though they lasted all his life) work 
out for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight 
of glory : while we look not at the things which 
are seen, but the things which are not seen ; for the 
things which are seen are temporal ] but the things 
which are not seen are eternal." Paul was 
spiritually minded ; and if our conduct is such as be- 
comes the gospel of Christ, we shall be spiritual, too. 

VII. Last of all we must be joyful. " Rejoice 
in the Lord," says the Bible, "and again I say 
rejoice." We have no business to go mourning all 
our days. We are the children of God ; we have 
the spirit that cries to him, "Father." "And if 
children, then heirs ; heirs of God, and joint heirs 
with Christ." You know what that means? Every 
thing that God has belongs to the Lord Jesus and 
us. Our sins are pardoned already; nothing can 
do us any real harm but sin, and if we resist tempt- 
ation, God will help us and hold us up. All our 
sorrows are coming to an end; we are going to 
dwell in joy and peace for ever. We shall be holy 
and like him whom we love best 

No more lonely days ; no more shame for our 


wickedness; no more hard battles with our evil 
hearts ; no more disappointment in our friends, in 
our plans, in our love. Everybody in heaven will 
love us ; and Christ and God will love us best of 

How can we mourn and be troubled, then, except 
^with unbelief? And unbelief is sin. When your 
heart is heavy you must return to the Lord, pray 
to him to comfort you, to take away your sin, and 
to make you rejoice. For it dishonours him when 
we are downcast and sad. We must do as becomes 
the gospel, and ^^ he joyful.^'' 

Now, when you think of all this I have been 
telling you — being humble and holy, prayerful 
aad busy, patient and spiritual and joyful — does it 
seem too much for such poor, weak, sinful creatures 
as we are ? It is too much, if we try by ourselves: 
but God is our strength; and he says : " Fear not, 
for I am with thee ; he not dismayed, for I am thy 
God ; I will strengthen thee ; yea, I will help thee, 
saith the Lord, even thy Redeemer, the Holy One 
of Israel." Trust him, all ye his people, and toil 
on ; for there is rest in heaven. 





^^The Lord is my ShepTierd ; I shall not want. He makeiJi me 
to lie down in green pastures. — Psa. xxiii. 1, 2. 

David, though he was a king and a prophet in 
in the last part of his life, was a shepherd at first, 
and took care of his father's sheep. He used to 
lead them about from one hill to another, and from 
one pleasant little stream of water to another, just 
as they needed to go — always looking for the best 
pasture and the still clear water for his flock.. 
When the lion and the bear came down where he 
was, to kill the sheep, David fought and killed 
them, though he was hardly grown up ; and £rod 
took care of him and saved him from all danger 
and from all his enemies, and brought him to be 
one of the greatest and wisest of men. 

But David never forgot those early days; he 
knew who it was that watched over him, just as he 
watched over the sheep. For though his life was 
full of dangers, and he had such fierce and terrible 
enemies — though he himself was a man full of evil 
passions, yet God was mightier than all, and so 
kind to him as to bring him through all these 


.-■®ngSj«feotIilf^e lived l^ loe^amfli^rd^^dmnrGd 
^ISfkad died quietly in his palp'Wj^with his chil- 
dren and friends all round him. 

Now David knew, as I said, who took such gra- 
cious care of him ; he loved to look back and see 
how God had led him, and to praise that heavenly 
Father for his great goodness. And he wrote this 
beautiful Psalm not only to praise God, but to 
show what perfect trust he had in the Lord's faith- 
fulness and love. And when he was thinking how 
he could tell of God's goodness, he remembered 
how he spent his young days watching the lambs 
and caring for them; and lie said, "The Lord is 
my shepherd.V—-^^, ^^^ ' 

That;'"© juStHrhe fe?5ng'that the Christian has. 
The poc)^ sinnei^ feels . as ifj^od was a |tranger, 
and.thougljt nothing ibout hi^u^ssit wa^ to be 
ang^ with^iaj whea lie did wrong. It don't seem 
natural to him ^hat m4n should go to the Almighty 
LTfrd with, all their litde affairs, and tell him all 
about them, just as if he was a near and faithful 
friend. But the Christian knows better, he knows 
God loves him. And while he remembers that God 
cares for all, and is kind to all, he remembers that 
though he is so mighty, he has a special care for 
him. If we have faith, we will not only say. The 
Lord is a Shepherd, we will say. The Lord is our 

I. The Lord is our faithful Shepherd. David 
begins, you see, by looking at God; that's the waj 


to be happy and to feel safe — to look away from our 
poor selves, wicked and helpless, to the mighty 
God. He is faithful. *' I am the Lord," he says ; 
"I change not." He has proved that well. Long, 
long before the world was, he had it all planned ; 
and in his good time he spoke the wonderful word, 
and the world was made. Then as soon as Adam 
and Eve sinned, he promised them a Saviour; and 
though so many hundreds of years had to roll away 
— though men were so wicked and rebellious — 
though the Lord saw just how they would treat his 
dear and holy Son, yet he kept his promise. He 
sent that Son into the world, full of grace and 
truth, and let him die for sinners. Then he pro- 
mised the Holy Spirit, and kept that promise — 
made men repent and believe on the Lord Jesus 
Christ, pardoned their sins, changed their hearts, 
and fitted them for heaven. 

And how many promises he made men ! yet not 
not one of them ever failed. Who ever could rise 
up before God, and say, " I did this and this, 
according to thy word, and the promise wasn't 
fulfilled?" Not one! He said that they who 
sought him early should find him, if they searched 
for him with all their hearts; and so it is until this 
day. He said he would take care of his people 
even down to old age ; and he does it. When flesh 
and heart fail them, he is the strength of their 
heart and their portion for ever. Who ever came 


to him and was cast out? Who ever trusted in 
him and wasn't delivered ? 

And we know he will be the same true and 
watchful Friend to us also. " He abideth faithful ; 
he cannot deny himself." Sickness and sorrow 
and storm will come, but our Deliverer will come 
also. He will bring us blessings as we need them. 
He will bring chastenings and afflictions, too, when 
we need them. He will keep every promise, and 
answer all our prayers, and love us, as he loved 
his disciples, "unto the end." 

The Lord is our mighty Shepherd. Our enemies 
are strong, our sorrows are great, and our wicked- 
ness is terrible; and we need a mighty helper. 
That's just what the Lord is. "He stretched out 
the heavens like a curtain ; he makes the clouds 
his chariot; he walks on the wings of the wind; he 
laid the foundations of the earth ; he brought the 
waters of the flood higher than the mountains, and 
drove them away again with a word ; he waters the 
hills with rain, and makes the grass and corn and 
trees to grow. He appoints the sun and moon 
their times to shine ; he makes darkness, and it is 
night. The earth is full of his riches, and so is 
the great, wide sea which he has made. He looks 
on the earth and it trembles ! He touches the hills 
and they smoke ! His glory and his might shall 
endure for ever. — (Ps. civ.) 

" This awful God is ours" — our Father and our 
Shepherd. We are the work of his hands, and our 


new hearts are his also. When Christ died for lis 
God raised him again from the dead. When the 
disciples gathered together and prayed in fear and 
sorrow, with the doors shut for fear of the Jews, 
God sent the Holy Spirit, like a rushing mighty 
wind, to fill their hearts with courage and their 
mouths with wisdom. And though kings and na- 
tions hated the gospel, and tried to destroy the 
church, they never could do it; for God had pro- 
mised that even the gates of hell should not prevail 
against it. 

So he brings us always just as much help as we 
need. If daily blessings are enough, he sends 
them; if our dangers and troubles grow great, then 
he sends a great deliverance. Not one of his peo- 
ple ever was lost. He will- conquer death and hell 
for us, and bring us safe into the promised land. 

God is our gracious and tender Shepherd. What 
miserable creatures we should be, if God didn't 
pity and love us! We are so blind and foolish — 
we make so many mistakes, and live so carelcsly, 
that we are always getting into trouble. We sin 
so terribly, that earthly friends hardly ever have 
patience with us. Only the Lord our Shepherd 
bears with us ! He is never weary of helping us I 
He forgiveth all our sins; he healeth all our 
infirmities; he saves our life from destruction. 
Oh how many poor sinners have gone to him for 
mercy, and every one was pardoned ! 

He is " the God of all comfort." Very sorrowful 


is this world ; full of wickedness, and full of tears. 
Every heart aches, and fears, arxd mourns. Every- 
body has sickness, and trouble, and death in the 
house: trouble, too, that no man can comfort — 
only God can pity and cure. So, if God wasn 't 
" gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great 
goodness," we should be friendless and helpless 
just when we need help and comfort the most. 
That's what the hymn says: 

thou who driest the mourner's tear, 

How dark this world would be, 
If, when by sorrow wounded here, 

We could not fly to thee ! 

But we can fly to him. Oh how often, when our 
hearts are ready to break with grief, we go to his 
mercy-seat and tell him all our trials ; and while 
we pray he sends comfort! We feel stronger — we 
grow calm — ready to suffer all his righteous will; 
for our thoughts are on our heavenly home, and 
rejoicing in God's glory. And though our sins are 
so mixed up with our sorrows, that we almost feel 
ashamed to carry them to anybody, yet we know 
he is able to save "^o the uttermost ^ "Oh that 
great, sweet word uttermost!" God can follow us 
with his great love into all our wickedness, and 
foolishness, and grief, and heal us there, just as he 
stopped the mouths of the lions against Daniel, and 
just as the Lord Jesus called dead Lazarus out of 
the deep cave where he was buried. He heals the 


broken in heart, and binds up their wounds, and 
he saves the chief of sinners. 

II. "The Lord is my Shepherd — I shall not 
want." Or, as David says in another place, "They 
that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing." 
If we have foolish and wicked wants, God doesn 't 
promise to satisfy them. But his sheep shall not 
want anything that the Good Shepherd can give 
them. And how foolish we should be, if we would 
have what we like, whether our wise and gracious 
God saw that it was good for us or not! 

David knew very well that he could 'nt have 
everything he liked. There are some pleasant 
things that can't go together, and if a man has 
one of them, he must do without the other. No 
man can work and i^est at once ; he may want the 
pleasure of both, but one must wait. So that wasn 't 
what David meant; what did he mean? 

Why, he knew what a thirsty, starving, miserable 
world this is — full of war and violence, discontent 
and envy, and wicked passions — men striving 
against each other bitterly for things that can 't 
do them good, and wasting all their chance to get 
real good. " There is no peace to the wicked, 
saith my God:" and yet peace is the only thing 
worth having. Strength, money, comforts, these 
are all very well to fill out with, but they can't 
make a man happy. Who ever sees a rich man that 
is happy? And how many poor and lowly people 
are happy ! You go to the bedside of some sick 


old man, and pity liim — and behold, he doesn't 
want any pity ! He says, " I 'm leaving this sad 
and wretched world — my Lord is here with me in 
the dark valley — his word is sweet to me, and his 
promises are all true ; pity poor careless sinners, 
that are going down laughing and singing to hell 
in the dark!" He don 't. want anything — his cup 
is full. 

Now you see what David meant — the Lord will 
give me tvtry thing I need; "no good thing will 
he keep back from them that walk uprightly." He 
saw trouble and sorrow were coming — they always 
come! but he wasn't afraid. They never hurt 
God's people, they help them. He put himself in 
the hands of his God. There he knew he was 
safe. " The Lord is my shepherd j I shall not 

" He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.'' 
It shows what care a good shepherd takes of his 
sheep, if he finds green pastures of tender grass for 
them — so plenty, too, that when they have eaten 
enough, they can still lie down in the midst of the 
grass. It shows they have enough, and it shows 
they feel safe. They can sleep, and he watches 
over them. 

What is the pasture of the Lord's flock ? Reli- 
gious blessings. If he didn 't feed them with that 
food, they would die ; if they have that, their souls 
shall live for ever. See, now, how abundantly he 
provides for them. 



First of all is the Sabbath-day. Ever since he 
made the world, he has saved one day out of every 
week for religion. He taught men to honour it 
and keep it holy, and to come together in little 
companies and worship him, and learn his will. 
Worldly and wicked people have always grudged 
the Lord that day, and tried to take it away from 
him, to spend it for themselves. But God was too 
good to let it be wasted so ; he hallowed it, and 
made men respect it, and punished Sabbath-break- 
ers so often, that all kinds of people are learning 
at last to give God the day that belongs to him. 
But it is the Christian's day after all. Then he 
can leave this poor world out of sight, and spend 
the time with the Lord Jesus. What a green and 
precious pasture for God's flock Sunday is ! 

Then, again, there is the Bible — God's book, 
we call it, and so it is. He taught the old prophets 
and apostles what to say and how to say it. He 
made them tell the story of Jesus Christ, and all 
his wonderful and dying love. He wrote down 
these " exceeding great and precious promises," 
that comfort us in all tribulation and give us 
courage to wait on the Lord. He put all that wis- 
dom there that his people have been studying, and 
rejoicing about, all this long time. And what if 
some of you can't read it? I wish you could, every 
one of you, and I wish you had your own Bible, 
too. But if you can 't read it, that don 't keep the 
Bible from teaching you, and making many of you 


wise unto salvation. All that you hear about your 
Saviour — all God's precious words of comfort that 
men repeat — all you know about religion — all that 
your friends and your minister can teach you — 
came right from the Bible. This is another part 
of the Lord's " green pastures." 

And there is the preaching, too. How many 
thousands of good men our Father has taken away 
from their worldly plans and hopes — from trying to 
get pleasant homes aud live in comfort and wealth 
— to make them preach the gospel. Made them 
work hard, and weep and suffer, striving against 
sin, and opposing those that tempt men — made 
them deny themselves, and take up the cross, and 
go about doing good, following Jesus, their great 
Captain. And their reward is, to save poor sin- 
ners : to know that those who were perishing in 
sin have come to be the children of God. They 
are happy — the Lord takes care of that. He 
makes them a blessing to men, and that brings 
them joy. They preach about the Lord Jesus, and 
sinners' hearts melt, and repent, and trust him. 
They tell of God's faithfulness, and the sorrowing 
Christian is comforted. They warn men of sin, 
and the backslider is ashamed and confesses and 
repents. They are the under shepherds ; and they 
lead the Lord's flock into " green pastures." 

"He maketh me to lie down in green pastures." 
How safe we are, when we stay in his pasture ! 
Those that wander off, and try to take care of them- 


selves, they are in danger and trouble all the time. 
But if we abide with him, we shall be satisfied 
with food, and lie down contented, and our rest 
shall be sweet. He invites us there — he opens his 
arms to us, and carries the weary ones in his bosom. 
Oh, who shall not love and trust this great Shep- 
herd, and live near to him ! Keep us in thy fold, 
dear Saviour, and let us go out no more for ever ! 




*'Se leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul; 
he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his navies 
sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow 
of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me. Thy rod 
and thy staff, they comfort me." — Psa. xxiii. 2, 3, 4. 

David told us, in the first part of this Psalm, 
who was his Shepherd, and how safe he felt in God's 
hands, and how kindly he provides for his flock, 
making them to -'lie down in green pastures." 
Now he goes on, telling of other blessings the Lord 
sends, and the care he takes of us all, even to the 

I. '' He leadeth me beside the still waters." If 
David had only said, " beside the waters," you 
couldn't tell certainly what he meant. It might 
be a dangerous and rapid river, or the wild and 
bitter sea. But he says, " the still waters" — some 
clear and pleasant stream where the sheep can drink 
safely, and drink as often and as much as they need. 
That 's the very image of peace with God. 

Sinners are in a strife with God. He wants them 
to live one way, and they will live any other way 



but that. He threatens, but they won't listen. He 
" entreats," but they stop their ears. He is angry, 
but they forget him. He is grieved, but they 
harden their hearts. All they do, dishonours God; 
every word and action, and even their thoughts, 
break his law. If everybody was to follow their 
example, God would 'nt have a friend, a servant, 
or a son, in the whole wide world. His thoughts 
and his ways are not like theirs ; and when God's 
will crosses their will, then they rebel, and their 
hearts blaspheme against him, even if their tongues 
don 't dare to do it. God wants to make the world 
good, and they want to keep their wicked pleasures; 
so they are working right against Godi's plans all 
the time. 

That makes sinners afraid of God. In their 
hearts they know they are resisting and grieving 
him ; they know he is mighty, and they dare not 
go to him as they are. They're afraid of God! 
Afraid of our Shepherd and Friend — our dear Fa- 
ther ! We know him ; we can trust all his promises. 
We can go into our closets, and talk to him. We 
don't have to wait till some trouble happens to 
us, or till we are in terrible need of some blessing, 
and then creep into his presence, trembling for fear 
he will remember our sins, and slay us. Oh, no ! 
we "enter into his courts with joy ; it is a good 
and pleasant thing to give thanks unto the Lord, 
and to call on the name of the Most High." We can 
pour out our hearts before him; we can "tell him 


all our trials ;" and if we haven 't any trials, we can 
kneel before him, and praise him, and call him our 
Father. " We are his people, and the sheep of his 

And when the Christian is weary of this misera- 
ble world — weary of seeing its sin and sorrow, 
and striving against temptations, and keeping down 
his passions, and doing his duties here, oh, how 
much like pleasant waters to a thirsty man it is, to 
be alone with God ! The Sabbath morning comes, 
that God "blessed and hallowed" — or we find 
some quiet little time in the week — when we can 
put away all worldly thoughts and cares, and medi- 
tate on God's sweet word. We lift up our heavy 
and tired hearts to him, and he lays a gentle hand 
on them, and they rest. We can almost see him 
look down on us, so gracious and loving, and whisper 
the precious Bible promise that comforts us. He 
leadeth us beside the still and holy waters, and 
quenches all our thirst. 

II. " He restore th my soul." How strange alas, 
it is, that though God is so good, and religion 
makes men so happy, yet they will wander from 
him; leave the green pastures and still waters that 
our Shepherd provides, and stray in the wilderness 
of the world ! But so it is : when God first takes 
us to be his children, we promise that we will never 
leave him, and we feel very sure that nothing will 
ever tempt us away from our Saviour. We sing and 
rejoice, and then grow careless and un watchful? 


and it don 't take long for these weak and foolish 
hearts to get cold and hard, and to feel as if they 
didn 't need any help against sin and Satan. Then 
down they come ! The same way we loved the 
world before, money, or pleasure, or whatever it 
was, we begin to love it again without noticing it. 
Somehow, our prayers get shorter and less pleasant; 
we can't keep our thoughts from wandering. God 
seems far off — not so awful or so beautiful as he did 
once. At last, some sin that we fall into is so shock- 
ing, that it makes us think — and behold, our pro- 
mises are all broken, and our peace is gone ! 

But now, instead of coming straight back to God 
as poor sinners, begging to be pardoned again for 
Christ's sake, as we did at first, we go stumbling on 
in dark and wicked ways. Sometimes it 's because 
we love our sins too well ; sometimes, because we 
are too proud to own our wickedness ; sometimes, 
because we haven 't faith enough to believe God will 
pardon us; we go on sinning and mourning, and 
grieving God ; and then at last he takes pity on us, 
and leads us back. " He restoreth our soul." We 
would never find our way into peace again, if he 
didn 't bring us there. 

Sometimes God restores us by taking away our 
idol. How many Christians have had that expe- 
rience! They loved something too much, but they 
didn't know it — they wouldn't believe it, even when 
their friends saw it, and told them so. They didn 't 
want to believe it, because if they did they would 


have to repent of the sin, and give up the idol. So 
they cover up their iniquity before the Lord, and 
sin against their own souls. But when his time 
comes, the money is lost, or the house burns down, 
or the child dies, and is buried out of sight. Then, 
while we are mourning over our affliction, it flashes 
on us that G-od has done it; this was our idol, 
and he took it away. And now we repent and re- 
turn unto the Lord, and he has mercy on us, and 
pardons us abundantly. 

Sometimes God restores us by v)aking our con- 
sciences. Por a long time, we cheat ourselves into 
thinking that we are doing right, while in truth we 
are living in sin. It is wonderful how we can de- 
ceive ourselves, and hold up our heads, and look 
honest, while we are breaking God's law, and our 
own solemn promises ! But when the Holy Spirit 
comes to us, we can H help seeing our sin, and being 
ashamed of it, too. " Mine eye seeth thee," Job 
says : " therefore I abhor myself, and repent in 
dust and ashes." 

Sometimes God restores us by making us long for 
peace again with him. — We never have peace when 
we wander from God — not true peace. We may 
be careless and thoughtless, and call it peace, but 
we're not happy. And though for a while we may 
amuse ourselves and drive away our heaviness by 
worldly pleasures ; yet just as soon as God touches 
our hearts, we find out how poor and lonely we are. 
Our heart and our flesh cry out for God — for the 


living God. Every thing in the world looks mean 
and worthless without his blessing. Then we call 
to him: " My Father! my Father I" we throw down 
our vanities and sins, and run to his feet. And oh, 
what joy and peace it is to see him smile again, and 
call us his own dear children. 

III. " He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness 
for his name's sake." When we have been falling 
into sin, wandering from God, and getting lost in 
the crooked ways of the world, we begin to find 
out at last how weak we are — certain to go wrong, 
if God don 't keep us right. Then what a comfort 
it is to remember God's promise to lead us, and to 
have the Christian's experience that God does lead 

That 's one special part of a shepherd's work, to 
lead the- sheep. He knows where the green mea- 
dows are, and the streams that never dry, and he 
calls them away from the barren land, to the place 
he provides for them. For the Lord's flock, the 
only safe and pleasant paths are "the paths of 
righteousness ; " they always run through green pas- 
tures and beside still waters. Those ways are ways 
of pleasantness, and those paths are paths of peace, 

But alas, we know very well we can 't trust our- 
selves to find those paths, and walk in them. Our 
hearts are too deceitful and wicked ; we are so igno- 
rant and blind, that if we go alone, we will surely 
get lost. Somebody must lead us, and keep us 
there J and the Lord our Shepherd will do it. 
** The Lord knoweth the way of the righteous." 


He leads us by making our conscience tender and 
honest. Many consciences keep still when men are 
going wrong, don 't cry out and scare them from 
wicked ways: so they go on easily in sin. But 
when God blesses us, and undertakes to lead us, he 
wakes up our consciences, so they have to tell the 
truth. When we are going to break the Sabbath, 
or give way to evil tempers, or do anything that 's 
unrighteous, conscience says, No ! — and raises such 
an alarm that we turn back into the '' strait and nar- 
row way " again. 

He leads us by teaching us how the Lord Jesus 
walked. He says, " My sheep hear my voice, and I 
know them, and they follow me.'' Often, when we 
can 't study out our way for ourselves, and every 
thing looks dark and doubtful to us, we remember 
that the Lord was in just such a strait once, and 
we know what he did and said. He had enemies ; 
and he loved them, and gave himself for them. He 
was reproached; but he bore it meekly, and " re- 
viled not again." He was tempted, and resisted the 
devil. He was surrounded with sinners, but he 
lived and died pure and spotless: he pitied them, 
blessed them as long as he lived, and then laid down 
his life for them. Thinking of these things, we see 
what spirit we ought to have, and what we ought 
to do. So the Lord " leadeth us in paths of right- 

But most of all he leads us hj giving us the Holy 
Spirit. We know not even " wliat we should pray 


for as we ought," but " the Spirit helpeth our infirm- 
ities, and maketh intercession for us." He makes 
us grow in grace — causes us to understand our 
hearts and find out our sins — gives us repentance, 
and faith, and love; so we grow strong, and we 
walk straight and free in God's way. 

But why should the Lord do all this for us? 
Why should he care for poor sinners, and lead them 
patiently and carefully in the paths of righteous- 
ness ? How do we know that he will go on with us 
the same way, all our days ? David tells us : "He 
leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his 
name^s sake.^^ The glory God loves most, is the 
glory of goodness. He loves to be praised for his 
grace. When he came down and passed before 
Moses, and showed him his glory, what did he call 
himself? " The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and 
gracious, long sufi'ering and abundant in goodness 
and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving 
iniquity, and transgression, and sin." And the song 
they sing to him in heaven is " Hallelujah ! Salva- 
tion, and glory, and honour be unto our God!' 
And many, many times he made the prophets call 
him our Redeemer, our Shepherd, and our Father. 

So we know he will take care of us : he loves us, 
and he cares for his own glory. As long as the 
world lasts, he will glorify his great name by watch- 
ing over his flock, and leading them in the paths of 

lY. " Yea, though I walk through the valley of 



the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou 
art with me ; thy rod, and thy staff, they comfort 
me." People often speak of this, as if David only 
meant that he wouldn 't be afraid when he came to 
die — as if death was the most dreadful thing that 
could happen to a Christian. It means, "in the 
valley of the deadly shadow " — when any terrible 
fear or sorrow comes on us. When a shepherd is 
trying to drive his sheep, and they come to a dark 
or dangerous place, or anything comes in the way 
that frightens them, they crowd back, and refuse to 
go on. Then, if they know their keeper well, and 
he goes before them, they "hear his voice and fol- 
low him ! " they fear no evil, for he is with them. 
And so, when the Christian is going on, doing 
his work, and serving his Lord, he comes sometimes 
to a dark and threatening place. Danger and 
trouble are waiting for him — the path is rough and 
lonely ; he feels weak and helpless, and his heart 
trembles. He looks this way and tliat way, to see 
if he can 't get round it ; but no, his way is hedged 
up; he must either go on and do his duty, and bear 
the terrible evils that seem to be waiting for him, 
or he must turn back and deny his Lord. Or may 
be, the way looked pleasant and easy enough before, 
but now storms and sorrows begin to come down, 
and the sky grows dark. It was all light and hope- 
ful before, but now there's a deep and deadly 
shadow on it. Perhaps his good name is taken 
away, or some of those he loves are fallen into 



sin, and about to perisli ; or he is sick, and about 
to die. 

His heart faints in him — where shall he fly? 
how can he escape? If he was an enemy of God, he 
would fall into despair 1 But he isn't an enemy — he 
is one of the Lord's flock. As he thinks of that, his 
terror all passes away. He fears no evil, because 
his Shepherd is with him. The Lord Jesus has 
been through all this trouble ; right there, under 
the shadow, he is waiting for us ! And he will put 
his arms of love around us, and bear us safely 
through : 

The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose, 
I -will not, I will not desert to its foes : 

That soul though all hell should endeavour to shake, 
I'll never, no never, no never forsake. 

Sinners may think this is all talk ; but we know 
it is truth. Men have suffered the loss of all things : 
given their body to the flames ; been tortured, not 
accepting deliverance; and in the deep dungeon, 
like Paul and Silas, they have sung praises to God. 
They have called their children and friends to their 
death-bed to show them with what peace a Christian 
can die. It is the sinner's unbelief that makes him 
think so : that same unbelief that God is angry with. 
" He that believeth not shall he damned." While 
we that were perishing are trusting in our Saviour, 
and being saved by his precious blood, those that 
reject him shall be cut off, and that for ever. Turn 
then, poor sinner, before it is too late ! Seek the 


Lord while he may be found ! Call upon him while he 
is near ! " For behold the day cometh that shall burn 
as an oven; and all the proud — yea, and all that 
do wickedly, shall be as stubble ; and the day that 
cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts. 
But unto you that fear my name, shall the Sun of 
Righteousness arise, with healing in his wings." 




' Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine ene- 
mies ; thou anointest my head with oil ; my cup runneth ojier. 
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my 
life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever" 
— PsA. xxiii. 5, 6. 

David has told us already how the Lord led him 
into pleasant pastures, and took care of all his 
sheep — feeding and resting them. But this isn't 
enough for him; he wants to praise the Lord's 
bounties more yet ; so now he tells us that the Lord 
makes a great feast for him. In David's country, 
the kings and great men often made feasts for their 
friends — gave them beautiful clothes to wear, and 
put rich and sweet perfumes on their heads, and 
their clothes : then the king made his soldiers guard 
the place, and keep them safe. And often they 
gathered so many friends to the feast, that they 
couldn't spread the table in the house, but went 
out in the open air, where every body could see 

I. That 's what David means here. God "loves 


the saints ; he knows them well." He gathers them 
into his house, and makes them happy there. Once 
they were hungry and thirsty, wicked and miser- 
able, full of evil passions and fears ; now he gives 
them rest and peace, and feeds them with heavenly 
food. As the Lord Jesus said, " Peace I leave with 
you — my peace I give unto you." What peace our 
pure and loving Saviour must have had, in spite of 
all his sorrows and enemies! He knew he loved 
God, and poor sinners, too; he knew he was opening 
a way to save them, and glorify his Father. He 
knew he came from God, and was going right back 
to heaven again ; and he knew he was to carry a great 
company after him, " redeemed out of every kindred, 
and people, and tongue," into eternal glory. He 
knew God loved him; for he says, "Therefore doth 
my Father love me, because I lay down my life for 
the sheep." So he knew that he had no enemies but 
the wicked, and he was trying to bless them ; and 
his heart was perfectly at rest — as the prophet 
Isaiah says, "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, 
whose mind is stayed on thee." 

And now, when the Lord says, "My peace I give 
unto you," you see what a feast he makes for his 
people. The world never understands our joy. 
Often the sinner tries to find out what makes 
Christians happy. It isn 't riches, or honour, or 
pleasure here ; it isn 't even comfort, or health, or 
long life, or success in his plans and toils. God's 
child can lose all these things, and be happy still. 


His face may have a holy brightness, and his voice 
may be sweet, and gentle, and calm, when all the 
good things of this life are taken away, and he is 
drawing near to the cold and awful grave. His eyes 
are raised to heaven, and he is whispering praises 
to his God — glory to his Saviour to the last. As 
the hymn says : 

''I'll praise my Maker with my breath. 
And when my voice is lost in death, 

Praise shall employ my nobler powers." 

" It shall come to pass that at the evening time it 
shall be light." — While the world's darkness is 
growing deep and dreadful round the Lord's flock, 
light from heaven sMnes in their hearts; and sor- 
row and mourning flee away. 

" Thou preparest a table before me in the pre- 
sence of mine enemies." You remember, I told you 
just now that often kings and great men spread out 
their feasts in the open air, and perhaps the king's 
enemies might be hid among the rocks, and on the 
hills, looking on, and watching to see if the guard 
was strong and good, or whether they could attack 
the people at the feast. And it shows how strong 
the king is, and how well his friends can trust him, 
if they can sit down, and eat and drink, and be 
merry, in the very presence of their enemies. 

Now that's just the way with the Christian ; he 
can enjoy all God's blessings, and feast on God's 
goodness, though he knows his enemies are all round 
him. There is Satan, going about like a roaring 


lion, seeking whom he may devour. There are 
the devils lying in wait for him, ready to tempt him 
and destroy him if they can. There are all the 
wicked, God's enemies, and the enemies of religion, 
watching God's people just as the old Pharisees 
watched the Lord Jesus, " seeking how they might 
accuse him." And never mind how pleasant the 
world may look ; sinners may bow to us and flatter 
us, and look ever so friendly — you and I know 
how many would rub their hands, and laugh, and 
rejoice, if we fell into sin. Our enemies are all 
around us. 

And it shows how good the Lord is, how strong 
and faithful, what a sure defence on every side, that 
we can enjoy religion in despite of our enemies. We 
don 't have to wait till we die before we can look 
bright and praise God for saving us. Oh, no ! We 
can sing out, loud and clear, as David sung, " The 
Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I 
fear ? The Lord is the strength of my life ; of whom 
shall I be afraid ? Why art thou cast down, 
my soul; and why art thou disquieted within me? 
Hope thou in God !" We sit down at the Lord's 
table, or we commune with him in secret, and our 
hearts are full of peace. We remember our ene- 
mies, but we don 't fear them. Our trust is in the 
Lord, who made heaven and earth. We may be 
amazed and troubled when we first see them ; we 
may cry out as David did once, ** Lord, how they are 
increased that trouble me! Many are they that rise 


up against me. Many say of my soul — There is 
no help for him in God ! " But our next word 
•will be, " But thou, Lord, art a shield for me " — my 
heart shall not fear. 

" Thou anointest my head with oil." In those old 
days, when the people came to the king's feast, he 
provided beautiful clothes for them all, fit to feast 
in. They took off the dusty clothes they travelled 
in, and put on these fine robes; then the servants 
perfumed their heads with sweet and pleasant oil ; 
that was the last part of their dressing ; when that 
was done, they were all ready for the feast 

And I suppose that's what David means in the 
Psalm. The Lord first prepares the feast for his 
people, and then he prepares his people for the feast. 
He takes off our sin and shame, gives us new hearts, 
and puts Christ's goodness on us. You remember 
the parable Jesus told, about the king sending his 
servants into the highways and hedges, and bring- 
ing the poor, ragged, lame beggars to his splendid 
supper. That's just what our God does: "our 
righteousness is filthy rags;" all we do is vile, and 
our hearts are black with sin ; but God doesn 't 
give us up for that. He sends his Holy Spirit to 
bring us into his kingdom — to take away all our 
wickedness — to touch our hearts with sweet and 
holy feelings — to fit us to enjoy religion, and to 
feast at our Lord's table. 

" My cup runneth over." Oh, how generous our 
King is ! Who doesn't have more blessings than he 


knows how to use ? Who saves all his Sunday time 
for religion? Who feeds on God's holy word as 
much as he can? Our cup runs over; God pours 
out mercy on us "exceeding abundantly, above all 
we can ask or think." Did you ever try to count 
up God's gifts ? First of all, count all the minutes 
in your life — then relations and friends — com- 
forts, deliverances out of danger — kind things done 
for you — good words out of the Bible, sermons, 
solemn thoughts, dealings of the Holy Spirit ; can 
you count them all ? And if you could, what thou- 
sands of blessings you have besides these ! So you 
would have to say, "0 Lord my God, great are the 
wondrous works which thou hast done. If I should 
declare them, and speak of them, they are more 
than I am able to express." 

II. " Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me 
all the days of my life." David comes back now to 
the same thing he said at first. The first verse 
says, " I shall not want;" and the last verse says, 
" goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of 
my life." What a happy confidence in God ! Our 
great Shepherd goes with his sheep, wherever they 
have to go. If duty calls them into places of temp- 
tation, he is there ; if their path lies through dark 
and terrible sorrows, he is there. When everything 
smiles and looks pleasant, the good Shepherd, that 
gave his life for the sheep, is by our side ; when " the 
wolf Cometh," and dangers are thick all round us, 
the hired shepherd would hide himself; but our 


Lord shed his precious blood to save us. So 
where our Shepherd goes, goodness and mercy 
go too. 

Now see what David says about God in another 
place: "Thou compassest my path and my lying 
down, and art acquainted with all my ways. Thou 
hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine 
hand upon me." He lays his hand upon us ! As 
if he was so watchful of us — so busy keeping us 
from danger and evil, that he keeps us within his 
arm's length, so that he has only to reach out his 
hand and cover us ! "If I ascend up into heaven, 
thou art there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, 
thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, 
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there 
shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall 
hold me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee ; 
the night shineth as the day; the darkness and the 
light are both alike to thee." Just as bright as the 
sunny day is, when you can hardly bear the dazzling 
light, just so bright is the deep midnight to God, 
that he may take care of his people. " The night 
shineth as the day." 

What a pity Christians couldn't keep on owning 
God's goodness and mercy all the days of their 
lives ! They are ready enough to talk about it 
beforehand; but when trouble comes, then they for- 
get God. God looks angry to them, because their 
faith is weak, not because he is changed any. He 
is our faithful Friend ; and when things look dark- 


est and saddest to us — when our bodies are racked 
with pain, or our hearts with grief; when darkness 
falls on our spirits, and his peace is hid from us ; 
his goodness and mercy are following us still. They 
never fail. The sun will grow weary, at last, of 
rising and setting ; winter and summer, and day and 
night, will come to an end ; but God will be good 
for ever. He will never be weary of blessing his 
people, or saving them that put their trust in him. 

That 's what David says next, " I will dwell in the 
house of the Lord for ever." God's people dwell 
in his house in this world, in a certain way ; they 
are always near their great Father, and under his 
continual care. He feeds them, and clothes and 
comforts them, and makes them happy. " Blessed 
are they that dwell in thy house; they will he 
still praising thee.'^ And if religion didn 't do any 
thing else for us but that, wouldn 't it be well worth 
having? If it made us hopeful when everybody 
else was discouraged; if it made us patient and 
meek when all the world was rebellious and discon- 
tented; if it gives us an Almighty Friend in this 
dark and lonely world — a Father's house to live in, 
while sinners are orphans, and a pillow for our ach- 
ing heads when they are left in the storm ; well 
might we praise the Lord our Shepherd, and his 
great mercy ! 

But God has a better house than this, and when 
this poor world is pulled down, and burnt up, he 
will take us there. " I will dwell in the house of 


the Lord for ever." We couldn't do that here; 
for these bodies must perish, and this world shall 
be destroyed. But " we know that if our earthly 
house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a 
building of God, a house not made with hands, 
eternal in the heavens." A building of God ! what 
a fair house must that be which God builds ! We 
see something of his workmanship here ; we see the 
green fields and flowers, the shining rivers, and the 
glorious sea; we look up, and behold the sky with 
all its wonders ; the sun shining in his strength ; 
the moon and stars which he has ordained: the 
clouds, the mountains, and the morning light. Then 
look on these bodies where we dwell ; the strong 
and skilful hands, the soft skin, the eyes so bright 
and beautiful ; and yet these are not our homes ! 
This world is only a kind of tavern where we spend 
a few days ; these bodies God calls a tabernacle — 
a tent that he has pitched for us to live in a little 
while. But that heavenly world is a home — God's 
home, and our home. What a noble palace it must 
be ! John the Apostle tries to describe it for us, 
but it is too glorious to be described ; he only gives 
you a confused picture of splendid things ; clear as 
glass, pure as gold, gleaming like fire. But it is 
the house of the Lord, and it lasts for ever. We 
know that, and that 's enough. 

We know, too, that our dear friends will be 
there. Jesus will be there. God will be there. 
Sin and sorrow will never be remembered again. 


All will be free, and pure, and happy, and there 
shall be no more storms, nor night. We will dwell 
in the house of the Lord for ever. 

I. We see what a wretched state poor sinners are 
in. The Lord is not their Shepherd, and so they 're 
always in want. E-eligious blessings are not as 
pleasant and dear to them as green pastures to the 
sheep ; they have no peace with God like still sweet 
water in their hearts. Their souls wander in dark- 
ness ; they won 't let God restore them ; their feet 
don 't love the paths of righteousness. And oh, 
when they come to walk in death's dark shade, and 
bitter sorrows compass them about, what fear and 
wo fill their hearts! God is not with themj he 
turns a deaf ear to their cries. 

Their souls starve in sin and unbelief; God has 
spread a great feast, and invited all men to it, but 
they will not hearken or come to him. And when at 
last they want to come, just as they are dying, per- 
haps, their enemies are too mighty : death and hell 
stare them in the face, and scare away every thought 
of repenting and believing. Goodness and mercy 
did follow them all the days of their lives, but they 
are cast out of the house of the Lord for ever. 

How blind and foolish all their pride looks now ! 
What use are riches and honour to a man, when he 
is drowning in the sea, or dying in his burning 
house ? And what comfort can men take in hell, in 
those things they toil and sin for here ? " Thou 
fool! " says the Bible — " thou fool, this night shall 



thy soul be required of thee ; then whose shall those 
things be which thou hast provided?" 

2. But the Christian ought to rejoice and sing for 
joy, at all times. He ought to treat the Lord as his 
Shepherd ; that is, he ought to follow him, and trust 
him, and obey his word. Then nothing can hurt 
him, or pluck him out of his Father's hand. The 
eternal arms of love are round him, and the King 
of Kings is his Friend. 

Let us be done, then, with bitterness, and discon- 
tent, and fear. Brighten those mourning faces ! 
Lift up that sad heart with faith! Though our 
enemies— pain, disappointment sorrow, and death, 
are all around us, goodness and mercy are nearer to 
us, and change every trouble to a blessing. Only 
be faithful, and follow hard after your Lord, and he 
will light up your darkness with his smile, and still 
your heart in danger, and you shall dwell in the 
house of the Lord /or ever.